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1.
Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg ; 2022 Apr 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788500

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The need to ration medical equipment and interventions during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic translated to an ever-lengthening wait list for surgical care. Retrospective analysis of lockdowns is of high importance to learn from the current situation for future pandemics. This monocentric study assessed the impact of lockdown periods on cardiac surgery cases and outcomes. METHODS: The single-centre cross-sectional descriptive observational study was conducted to investigate the first lockdown period and the following post-lockdown period in comparison to the same periods during the previous 3 years at the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Medical University of Innsbruck. Data were prospectively collected and retrospectively analysed from the department-specific quality management system. The primary objective was to compare the number of open-heart procedures between the prelockdown and the lockdown period. The secondary objectives were to analyse the characteristics and the outcomes of open-heart procedures. RESULTS: There were no differences in patient demographics. A significant decrease of 29% in weekly surgical procedures was observed during the lockdown period. The surgical case-mix was unaffected: The numbers of aortic valve replacements, coronary artery bypass grafts, mitral valve repair or replacement procedures and others remained stable. The urgency of cases increased significantly, and the general health conditions of patients appeared to be worse. However, outcomes were unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: By implementing a rational patient selection process, the quality of open-heart procedures was maintained even though patients who underwent surgery during lockdown were sicker and more symptomatic.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333091

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related pneumonia challenges clinical practice. We explore the potential diagnostic benefit of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in order to establish the underlying inflammatory or fibrotic repair processes in prolonged structural lung abnormalities in COVID-19 patients. Methods: : Six post-COVID-19 patients suspected for pulmonary fibrosis were scheduled for dual tracer PET/CT with 18 F-FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose) and 68 Ga-fibroblast activation protein inhibitor (FAPI)-46. The uptake of 68 Ga FAPI-46 in the involved lung was compared to a control group of nine non COVID-19 patients. Clinical data and PET/CT imaging were collected and analysed. Results: : PET/CT revealed in all six pulmonary impaired patients the reduced glucose avidity on 18 F-FDG and clear positivity on 68 Ga-FAPI-46 PET/CT in comparison to the control group. Conclusion: Indicating fibrotic repair mechanisms, 68 Ga-FAPI PET/CT may enhance non-invasive clinical diagnostic performance, drive therapeutic interventions, and facilitate therapeutic response monitoring in patients with long-term CT-abnormalities after severe COVID-19.

4.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 9: 792881, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775691

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) convalescents are at risk of developing a de novo mental health disorder or worsening of a pre-existing one. COVID-19 outpatients have been less well characterized than their hospitalized counterparts. The objectives of our study were to identify indicators for poor mental health following COVID-19 outpatient management and to identify high-risk individuals. Methods: We conducted a binational online survey study with adult non-hospitalized COVID-19 convalescents (Austria/AT: n = 1,157, Italy/IT: n = 893). Primary endpoints were positive screening for depression and anxiety (Patient Health Questionnaire; PHQ-4) and self-perceived overall mental health (OMH) and quality of life (QoL) rated with 4 point Likert scales. Psychosocial stress was surveyed with a modified PHQ stress module. Associations of the mental health and QoL with socio-demographic, COVID-19 course, and recovery variables were assessed by multi-parameter Random Forest and Poisson modeling. Mental health risk subsets were defined by self-organizing maps (SOMs) and hierarchical clustering algorithms. The survey analyses are publicly available (https://im2-ibk.shinyapps.io/mental_health_dashboard/). Results: Depression and/or anxiety before infection was reported by 4.6% (IT)/6% (AT) of participants. At a median of 79 days (AT)/96 days (IT) post-COVID-19 onset, 12.4% (AT)/19.3% (IT) of subjects were screened positive for anxiety and 17.3% (AT)/23.2% (IT) for depression. Over one-fifth of the respondents rated their OMH (AT: 21.8%, IT: 24.1%) or QoL (AT: 20.3%, IT: 25.9%) as fair or poor. Psychosocial stress, physical performance loss, high numbers of acute and sub-acute COVID-19 complaints, and the presence of acute and sub-acute neurocognitive symptoms (impaired concentration, confusion, and forgetfulness) were the strongest correlates of deteriorating mental health and poor QoL. In clustering analysis, these variables defined subsets with a particularly high propensity of post-COVID-19 mental health impairment and decreased QoL. Pre-existing depression or anxiety (DA) was associated with an increased symptom burden during acute COVID-19 and recovery. Conclusion: Our study revealed a bidirectional relationship between COVID-19 symptoms and mental health. We put forward specific acute symptoms of the disease as "red flags" of mental health deterioration, which should prompt general practitioners to identify non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients who may benefit from early psychological and psychiatric intervention. Clinical Trial Registration: [ClinicalTrials.gov], identifier [NCT04661462].

5.
Allergy ; 2022 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1769676

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. One possibility to control the pandemic is to induce sterilizing immunity through the induction and maintenance of neutralizing antibodies preventing SARS-CoV-2 from entering human cells to replicate in. METHODS: We report the construction and in vitro and in vivo characterization of a SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine (PreS-RBD) based on a structurally folded recombinant fusion protein consisting of two SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein receptor-binding domains (RBD) fused to the N- and C-terminus of hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen PreS to enable the two unrelated proteins serving as immunologic carriers for each other. RESULTS: PreS-RBD, but not RBD alone, induced a robust and uniform RBD-specific IgG response in rabbits. Currently available genetic SARS-CoV-2 vaccines induce mainly transient IgG1 responses in vaccinated subjects whereas the PreS-RBD vaccine induced RBD-specific IgG antibodies consisting of an early IgG1 and sustained IgG4 antibody response in a SARS-CoV-2 naive subject. PreS-RBD-specific IgG antibodies were detected in serum and mucosal secretions, reacted with SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the omicron variant of concern and the HBV receptor-binding sites on PreS of currently known HBV genotypes. PreS-RBD-specific antibodies of the immunized subject more potently inhibited the interaction of RBD with its human receptor ACE2 and their virus-neutralizing titers (VNTs) were higher than median VNTs in a random sample of healthy subjects fully immunized with registered SARS-CoV-2 vaccines or in COVID-19 convalescent subjects. CONCLUSION: The PreS-RBD vaccine has the potential to serve as a combination vaccine for inducing sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and HBV by stopping viral replication through the inhibition of cellular virus entry.

6.
Radiology ; : 211670, 2022 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765163

ABSTRACT

Background The long-term pulmonary sequelae of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not well known. Purpose To characterize patterns and rates of improvement of chest CT abnormalities one year after COVID-19 pneumonia. Materials and Methods This was a secondary analysis of a prospective, multicenter observational cohort study conducted from April 29 to August 12, 2020 to assess pulmonary abnormalities on chest CT at approximately 2, 3, 6 months, and 1 year after onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Pulmonary findings were graded for each lung lobe using a qualitative CT severity score (CTSS), range 0 (normal) to 25 (all lobes involved). The association of demographic and clinical factors with CT abnormalities after 1 year was assessed with logistic regression. The rate of change of the CTSS at follow-up CT was investigated by Friedmann test. Results Out of 142 enrolled participants, 91 participants had a 1-year follow-up CT and were included in the analysis [mean age, 59 years ± 13 [standard deviation]; 35 women (38%)]. In 49/91 (54%) participants, CT abnormalities were observed: 31/91 (34%) participants showed subtle subpleural reticulation, ground-glass opacities or both and 18/91 (20%) participants revealed extensive ground-glass opacities, reticulations, bronchial dilation and/or microcystic changes. In multivariable analysis, age > 60 years (OR 5.8 [95% CI: 1.7 - 24]; p = .009) critical COVID-19 severity (OR 29 [95% CI: 4.8 - 280]; p < .001) and male gender (OR 8.9 [95% CI: 2.6 - 36]; p < .001) were associated with persistent CT abnormalities at 1 year. Reduction of CTSS was observed in participants in subsequent follow-up CTs (p < .001) and during the study period 49% (69/142) of participants had complete resolution of CT abnormalities. 31/49 (63%) participants with CT abnormalities did not show further improvement after 6 months. Conclusion Long-term CT abnormalities were common 1 year after COVID-19 pneumonia. The study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov number (registration number NCT04416100). See also the editorial by Leung.

7.
Eur J Neurol ; 2022 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759178

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Neurological sequelae from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may persist after recovery from acute infection. Here, the aim was to describe the natural history of neurological manifestations over 1 year after COVID-19. METHODS: A prospective, multicentre, longitudinal cohort study in COVID-19 survivors was performed. At a 3-month and 1-year follow-up, patients were assessed for neurological impairments by a neurological examination and a standardized test battery including the assessment of hyposmia (16-item Sniffin' Sticks test), cognitive deficits (Montreal Cognitive Assessment < 26) and mental health (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist 5). RESULTS: Eighty-one patients were evaluated 1 year after COVID-19, out of which 76 (94%) patients completed a 3-month and 1-year follow-up. Patients were 54 (47-64) years old and 59% were male. New and persistent neurological disorders were found in 15% (3 months) and 12% (10/81; 1 year). Symptoms at 1-year follow-up were reported by 48/81 (59%) patients, including fatigue (38%), concentration difficulties (25%), forgetfulness (25%), sleep disturbances (22%), myalgia (17%), limb weakness (17%), headache (16%), impaired sensation (16%) and hyposmia (15%). Neurological examination revealed findings in 52/81 (64%) patients without improvement over time (3 months, 61%, p = 0.230) including objective hyposmia (Sniffin' Sticks test <13; 51%). Cognitive deficits were apparent in 18%, whereas signs of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders were found in 6%, 29% and 10% respectively 1 year after infection. These mental and cognitive disorders had not improved after the 3-month follow-up (all p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that a significant patient number still suffer from neurological sequelae including neuropsychiatric symptoms 1 year after COVID-19 calling for interdisciplinary management of these patients.

8.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3677, 2022 03 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730313

ABSTRACT

The CovILD study is a prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study to systematically follow up patients after coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). We extensively evaluated 145 COVID-19 patients at 3 follow-up visits scheduled for 60, 100, and 180 days after initial confirmed diagnosis based on typical symptoms and a positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). We employed comprehensive pulmonary function and laboratory tests, including serum concentrations of IgG against the viral spike (S) glycoprotein, and compared the results to clinical data and chest computed tomography (CT). We found that at the 60 day follow-up, 131 of 145 (90.3%) participants displayed S-specific serum IgG levels above the cut-off threshold. Notably, the highly elevated IgG levels against S glycoprotein positively correlated with biomarkers of immune activation and negatively correlated with pulmonary function and the extent of pulmonary CT abnormalities. Based on the association between serum S glycoprotein-specific IgG and clinical outcome, we generated an S-specific IgG-based recovery score that, when applied in the early convalescent phase, accurately predicted delayed pulmonary recovery after COVID-19. Therefore, we propose that S-specific IgG levels serve as a useful immunological surrogate marker for identifying at-risk individuals with persistent pulmonary injury who may require intensive follow-up care after COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Lung/pathology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity , Prospective Studies , Respiratory Function Tests , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
9.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317702

ABSTRACT

The diagnosis of COVID-19 relies on the direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in respiratory specimens by RT-PCR. The pandemic spread of the disease caused an imbalance between demand and supply of materials and reagents needed for diagnostic purposes including swab sets. In a comparative effectiveness study, we conducted serial follow-up swabs in hospitalized laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients. We assessed the diagnostic performance of an in-house system developed according to recommendations by the US CDC. In a total of 96 swabs, we found significant differences in the accuracy of the different swab systems to generate a positive result in SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR, ranging from around 50 to 80%. Of note, an in-house swab system was superior to most commercially available sets as reflected by significantly lower Ct values of viral genes. Thus, a simple combination of broadly available materials may enable diagnostic laboratories to bypass global limitations in the supply of swab sets.

10.
Elife ; 112022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1675184

ABSTRACT

Background: The optimal procedures to prevent, identify, monitor, and treat long-term pulmonary sequelae of COVID-19 are elusive. Here, we characterized the kinetics of respiratory and symptom recovery following COVID-19. Methods: We conducted a longitudinal, multicenter observational study in ambulatory and hospitalized COVID-19 patients recruited in early 2020 (n = 145). Pulmonary computed tomography (CT) and lung function (LF) readouts, symptom prevalence, and clinical and laboratory parameters were collected during acute COVID-19 and at 60, 100, and 180 days follow-up visits. Recovery kinetics and risk factors were investigated by logistic regression. Classification of clinical features and participants was accomplished by unsupervised and semi-supervised multiparameter clustering and machine learning. Results: At the 6-month follow-up, 49% of participants reported persistent symptoms. The frequency of structural lung CT abnormalities ranged from 18% in the mild outpatient cases to 76% in the intensive care unit (ICU) convalescents. Prevalence of impaired LF ranged from 14% in the mild outpatient cases to 50% in the ICU survivors. Incomplete radiological lung recovery was associated with increased anti-S1/S2 antibody titer, IL-6, and CRP levels at the early follow-up. We demonstrated that the risk of perturbed pulmonary recovery could be robustly estimated at early follow-up by clustering and machine learning classifiers employing solely non-CT and non-LF parameters. Conclusions: The severity of acute COVID-19 and protracted systemic inflammation is strongly linked to persistent structural and functional lung abnormality. Automated screening of multiparameter health record data may assist in the prediction of incomplete pulmonary recovery and optimize COVID-19 follow-up management. Funding: The State of Tyrol (GZ 71934), Boehringer Ingelheim/Investigator initiated study (IIS 1199-0424). Clinical trial number: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04416100.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Lung Diseases/epidemiology , Lung Diseases/physiopathology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/rehabilitation , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Logistic Models , Longitudinal Studies , Lung Diseases/diagnosis , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , Prospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Tomography, X-Ray Computed/methods
11.
Eur J Neurol ; 28(10): 3348-3359, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1607398

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: To assess neurological manifestations and health-related quality of life (QoL) 3 months after COVID-19. METHODS: In this prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study we systematically evaluated neurological signs and diseases by detailed neurological examination and a predefined test battery assessing smelling disorders (16-item Sniffin Sticks test), cognitive deficits (Montreal Cognitive Assessment), QoL (36-item Short Form), and mental health (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-5) 3 months after disease onset. RESULTS: Of 135 consecutive COVID-19 patients, 31 (23%) required intensive care unit (ICU) care (severe), 72 (53%) were admitted to the regular ward (moderate), and 32 (24%) underwent outpatient care (mild) during acute disease. At the 3-month follow-up, 20 patients (15%) presented with one or more neurological syndromes that were not evident before COVID-19. These included polyneuro/myopathy (n = 17, 13%) with one patient presenting with Guillain-Barré syndrome, mild encephalopathy (n = 2, 2%), parkinsonism (n = 1, 1%), orthostatic hypotension (n = 1, 1%), and ischemic stroke (n = 1, 1%). Objective testing revealed hyposmia/anosmia in 57/127 (45%) patients at the 3-month follow-up. Self-reported hyposmia/anosmia was lower (17%) at 3 months, however, improved when compared to the acute disease phase (44%; p < 0.001). At follow-up, cognitive deficits were apparent in 23%, and QoL was impaired in 31%. Assessment of mental health revealed symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorders in 11%, 25%, and 11%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Despite recovery from the acute infection, neurological symptoms were prevalent at the 3-month follow-up. Above all, smelling disorders were persistent in a large proportion of patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Stroke , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
12.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296047

ABSTRACT

Background COVID-19 is associated with long-term pulmonary symptoms and may result in chronic pulmonary impairment. The optimal procedures to prevent, identify, monitor, and treat these pulmonary sequelae are elusive. Research question To characterize the kinetics of pulmonary recovery, risk factors and constellations of clinical features linked to persisting radiological lung findings after COVID-19. Study design and methods A longitudinal, prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study including COVID-19 patients (n = 108). Longitudinal pulmonary imaging and functional readouts, symptom prevalence, clinical and laboratory parameters were collected during acute COVID-19 and at 60-, 100- and 180-days follow-up visits. Recovery kinetics and risk factors were investigated by logistic regression. Classification of clinical features and study participants was accomplished by k-means clustering, the k-nearest neighbors (kNN), and naive Bayes algorithms. Results At the six-month follow-up, 51.9% of participants reported persistent symptoms with physical performance impairment (27.8%) and dyspnea (24.1%) being the most frequent. Structural lung abnormalities were still present in 45.4% of the collective, ranging from 12% in the outpatients to 78% in the subjects treated at the ICU during acute infection. The strongest risk factors of persisting lung findings were elevated interleukin-6 (IL6) and C-reactive protein (CRP) during recovery and hospitalization during acute COVID-19. Clustering analysis revealed association of the lung lesions with increased anti-S1/S2 antibody, IL6, CRP, and D-dimer levels at the early follow-up suggesting non-resolving inflammation as a mechanism of the perturbed recovery. Finally, we demonstrate the robustness of risk class assignment and prediction of individual risk of delayed lung recovery employing clustering and machine learning algorithms. Interpretation Severity of acute infection, and systemic inflammation is strongly linked to persistent post-COVID-19 lung abnormality. Automated screening of multi-parameter health record data may assist the identification of patients at risk of delayed pulmonary recovery and optimize COVID-19 follow-up management. Clinical Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04416100

13.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545917

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long COVID, defined as presence of COVID-19 symptoms 28 days or more after clinical onset, is an emerging challenge to healthcare systems. The objective of this study was to explore recovery phenotypes in non-hospitalized COVID-19 individuals. METHODS: A dual cohort, online survey study was conducted between September 2020 and July 2021 in the neighboring European regions Tyrol (TY, Austria, n = 1157) and South Tyrol (STY, Italy, n = 893). Data on demographics, comorbidities, COVID-19 symptoms and recovery adult outpatients were collected. Phenotypes of acute COVID-19, post-acute sequelae and risk of protracted recovery were explored by semi-supervised clustering and multi-parameter LASSO modeling. RESULTS: Working age subjects (TY: 43 yrs (IQR: 31 - 53), STY: 45 yrs (IQR: 35 - 55)) and females (TY: 65.1%, STY: 68.3%) predominated the study cohorts. Nearly half of the participants (TY: 47.6%, STY: 49.3%) reported symptom persistence beyond 28 days. Two acute COVID-19 phenotypes were discerned: the non-specific infection phenotype and the multi-organ phenotype (MOP). Acute MOP symptoms encompassing multiple neurological, cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal and dermatological complaints were linked to elevated risk of protracted recovery. The major subset of long COVID individuals (TY: 49.3%, STY: 55.6%) displayed no persistent hyposmia or hypogeusia but high counts of post-acute MOP symptoms and poor self-reported physical recovery. CONCLUSION: The results of our two-cohort analysis delineated phenotypic diversity of acute and post-acute COVID-19 manifestations in home-isolated patients which needs to be considered for predicting protracted convalescence and allocation of medical resources.

14.
Qual Life Res ; 31(5): 1401-1414, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1439744

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To assess patient characteristics associated with health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) and its mental and physical subcategories 3 months after diagnosis with COVID-19. METHODS: In this prospective multicentre cohort study, HR-QoL was assessed in 90 patients using the SF-36 questionnaire (36-item Short Form Health Survey), which consists of 8 health domains that can be divided into a mental and physical health component. Mental health symptoms including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders were evaluated using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-5 (PCL-5) 3 months after COVID-19. Using descriptive statistics and multivariable regression analysis, we identified factors associated with impaired HR-QoL 3 months after COVID-19 diagnosis. RESULTS: Patients were 55 years of age (IQR, 49-63; 39% women) and were classified as severe (23%), moderate (57%), or mild (20%) according to acute disease severity. HR-QoL was impaired in 28/90 patients (31%). Younger age [per year, adjOR (95%CI) 0.94 (0.88-1.00), p = 0.049], longer hospitalization [per day, adjOR (95%CI) 1.07 (1.01-1.13), p = 0.015], impaired sleep [adjOR (95%CI) 5.54 (1.2-25.61), p = 0.028], and anxiety [adjOR (95%CI) 15.67 (3.03-80.99), p = 0.001) were independently associated with impaired HR-QoL. Twenty-nine percent (n = 26) scored below the normal range on the mental health component of the SF-36 and independent associations emerged for anxiety, depression, and self-reported numbness. Impairments in the physical health component of the SF-36 were reported by 12 (13%) patients and linked to hypogeusia and fatigue. CONCLUSION: Every third patient reported a reduction in HR-QoL 3 months after COVID-19 diagnosis and impairments were more prominent in mental than physical well-being.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Cohort Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Prospective Studies , Quality of Life/psychology
15.
Allergy ; 77(1): 230-242, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373783

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The determinants of successful humoral immune response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are of critical importance for the design of effective vaccines and the evaluation of the degree of protective immunity conferred by exposure to the virus. As novel variants emerge, understanding their likelihood of suppression by population antibody repertoires has become increasingly important. METHODS: In this study, we analyzed the SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal antibody response in a large population of clinically well-characterized patients after mild and severe COVID-19 using a panel of microarrayed structurally folded and unfolded SARS-CoV-2 proteins, as well as sequential peptides, spanning the surface spike protein (S) and the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the virus. RESULTS: S- and RBD-specific antibody responses were dominated by immunoglobulin G (IgG), mainly IgG1 , and directed against structurally folded S and RBD and three distinct peptide epitopes in S2. The virus neutralization activity of patients´ sera was highly correlated with IgG antibodies specific for conformational but not sequential RBD epitopes and their ability to prevent RBD binding to its human receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Twenty percent of patients selectively lacked RBD-specific IgG. Only immunization with folded, but not with unfolded RBD, induced antibodies against conformational epitopes with high virus-neutralizing activity. Conformational RBD epitopes required for protection do not seem to be altered in the currently emerging virus variants. CONCLUSION: These results are fundamental for estimating the protective activity of antibody responses after natural infection or vaccination and for the design of vaccines, which can induce high levels of SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies conferring sterilizing immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Epitopes , Humans , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
16.
Front Physiol ; 12: 688946, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348532

ABSTRACT

In this review, we discuss spatiotemporal kinetics and inflammatory signatures of innate immune cells specifically found in response to SARS-CoV-2 compared to influenza virus infection. Importantly, we cover the current understanding on the mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 may fail to engage a coordinated type I response and instead may lead to exaggerated inflammation and death. This knowledge is central for the understanding of available data on specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators in severe SARS-CoV-2 infection pointing toward inhibited E-series resolvin synthesis in severe cases. By investigating a publicly available RNA-seq database of bronchoalveolar lavage cells from patients affected by COVID-19, we moreover offer insights into the regulation of key enzymes involved in lipid mediator synthesis, critically complementing the current knowledge about the mediator lipidome in severely affected patients. This review finally discusses different potential approaches to sustain the synthesis of 3-PUFA-derived pro-resolving lipid mediators, including resolvins and lipoxins, which may critically aid in the prevention of acute lung injury and death from COVID-19.

17.
Cardiovasc Res ; 117(10): 2148-2160, 2021 08 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266112

ABSTRACT

The pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 is a global threat, causing high mortality, especially in the elderly. The main symptoms and the primary cause of death are related to interstitial pneumonia. Viral entry also into myocardial cells mainly via the angiotensin converting enzyme type 2 (ACE2) receptor and excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, however, also make the heart susceptible to injury. In addition to the immediate damage caused by the acute inflammatory response, the heart may also suffer from long-term consequences of COVID-19, potentially causing a post-pandemic increase in cardiac complications. Although the main cause of cardiac damage in COVID-19 remains coagulopathy with micro- (and to a lesser extent macro-) vascular occlusion, open questions remain about other possible modalities of cardiac dysfunction, such as direct infection of myocardial cells, effects of cytokines storm, and mechanisms related to enhanced coagulopathy. In this opinion paper, we focus on these lesser appreciated possibilities and propose experimental approaches that could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the cellular and molecular bases of cardiac injury in COVID-19 patients. We first discuss approaches to characterize cardiac damage caused by possible direct viral infection of cardiac cells, followed by formulating hypotheses on how to reproduce and investigate the hyperinflammatory and pro-thrombotic conditions observed in the heart of COVID-19 patients using experimental in vitro systems. Finally, we elaborate on strategies to discover novel pathology biomarkers using omics platforms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Heart Diseases/virology , Heart/virology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Biomarkers/metabolism , Blood Coagulation , COVID-19/complications , Fibrosis , Heart/physiopathology , Heart Diseases/metabolism , Heart Diseases/pathology , Heart Diseases/physiopathology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Inflammation Mediators/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/metabolism , Myocytes, Cardiac/pathology , Ventricular Remodeling
19.
Eur J Phys Rehabil Med ; 57(2): 189-198, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1224407

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic increases the demand for postacute care in patients after a severe disease course. Various long-term sequelae are expected and rehabilitation medicine is challenged to support physical and cognitive recovery. AIM: We aimed to explore the dysfunctions and outcome of COVID-19 survivors after early postacute rehabilitation. DESIGN: Observational cohort study. METHODS: This study evaluated the postacute sequelae of patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 infection and analyzed rehabilitative outcomes of a subgroup of patients included in the prospective observational multicenter CovILD study. RESULTS: A total of 23 subjects discharged after severe to critical COVID-19 infection underwent an individualized, multiprofessional rehabilitation. At the start of postacute rehabilitation, impairment of pulmonary function (87%), symptoms related to postintensive care syndrome, and neuropsychological dysfunction (85%) were frequently found, whereas cardiac function appeared to be largely unaffected. Of interest, multi-disciplinary rehabilitation resulted in a significant improvement in lung function, as reflected by an increase of forced vital capacity (P=0.007) and forced expiratory volume in one second (P=0.014), total lung capacity (P=0.003), and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide (P=0.002). Accordingly, physical performance status significantly improved as reflected by a mean increase of six-minute walking distance by 176 (SD±137) meters. Contrarily, a considerable proportion of patients still had limited diffusion capacity (83%) or neurological symptoms including peripheral neuropathy at the end of rehabilitation. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals discharged after a severe course of COVID-19 frequently present with persisting physical and cognitive dysfunctions after hospital discharge. Those patients significantly benefit from multi-disciplinary inpatient rehabilitation. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Our data demonstrated the highly promising effects of early postacute rehabilitation in survivors of severe or critical COVID-19. This findings urge further prospective evaluations and may impact future treatment and rehabilitation strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/rehabilitation , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics , Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Subacute Care/methods , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Treatment Outcome
20.
Clin Chem Lab Med ; 59(8): 1453-1462, 2021 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175446

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections cause coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and induce a specific antibody response. Serological assays detecting IgG against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the spike (S) protein are useful to monitor the immune response after infection or vaccination. The objective of our study was to evaluate the clinical performance of the Siemens SARS-CoV-2 IgG (sCOVG) assay. METHODS: Sensitivity and specificity of the Siemens sCOVG test were evaluated on 178 patients with SARS-CoV-2-infection and 160 pre-pandemic samples in comparison with its predecessor test COV2G. Furthermore, correlation with virus neutralization titers was investigated on 134 samples of convalescent COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: Specificity of the sCOVG test was 99.4% and sensitivity was 90.5% (COV2G assay 78.7%; p<0.0001). S1-RBD antibody levels showed a good correlation with virus neutralization titers (r=0.843; p<0.0001) and an overall qualitative agreement of 98.5%. Finally, median S1-RBD IgG levels increase with age and were significantly higher in hospitalized COVID-19 patients (median levels general ward: 25.7 U/mL; intensive care: 59.5 U/mL) than in outpatients (3.8 U/mL; p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Performance characteristics of the sCOVG assay have been improved compared to the predecessor test COV2G. Quantitative SARS-CoV-2 S1-RBD IgG levels could be used as a surrogate for virus neutralization capacity. Further harmonization of antibody quantification might assist to monitor the humoral immune response after COVID-19 disease or vaccination.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Subunits/immunology , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
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