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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313938

ABSTRACT

Although pregnancy poses a greater risk for severe COVID-19, the underlying immunological changes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy are poorly understood. We defined immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in pregnant and non-pregnant women during acute and convalescent COVID-19 up to 258 days post symptom onset, quantifying 217 immunological parameters. Additionally, matched maternal and cord blood were collected from COVID-19 convalescent pregnancies. Although serological responses to SARS-CoV-2 were similar in pregnant and non-pregnant women, cellular immune analyses revealed marked differences in key NK cell and unconventional T cell responses during COVID-19 in pregnant women. While NK, γδ T cells and MAIT cells displayed pre-activated phenotypes in healthy pregnant women when compared to non-pregnant age-matched women, activation profiles of these pre-activated NK and unconventional T cells remained unchanged at acute and convalescent COVID-19 in pregnancy. Conversely, activation dynamics of NK and unconventional T cells were prototypical in non-pregnant women in COVID-19. In contrast, activation of αβ CD4 + and CD8 + T cells, T follicular helper cells and antibody-secreting cells was similar in pregnant and non-pregnant women with COVID-19. Elevated levels of IL-1β, IFN-γ, IL-8, IL-18 and IL-33 were also found in pregnant women in their healthy state, and these cytokine levels remained elevated during acute and convalescent COVID-19. Collectively, our study provides the first comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women, providing insights into patient management and education during COVID-19 pregnancy.

2.
Gen Psychiatr ; 34(5): e100577, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405225

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound and prolonged impact on healthcare services and healthcare workers. AIMS: The Australian COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers Study aimed to investigate the severity and prevalence of mental health issues, as well as the social, workplace and financial disruptions experienced by Australian healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: A nationwide, voluntary, anonymous, single timepoint, online survey was conducted between 27 August and 23 October 2020. Individuals self-identifying as frontline healthcare workers in secondary or primary care were invited to participate. Participants were recruited through health organisations, professional associations or colleges, universities, government contacts and national media. Demographics, home and work situation, health and psychological well-being data were collected. RESULTS: A total of 9518 survey responses were received; of the 9518 participants, 7846 (82.4%) participants reported complete data. With regard to age, 4110 (52.4%) participants were younger than 40 years; 6344 (80.9%) participants were women. Participants were nurses (n=3088, 39.4%), doctors (n=2436, 31.1%), allied health staff (n=1314, 16.7%) or in other roles (n=523, 6.7%). In addition, 1250 (15.9%) participants worked in primary care. Objectively measured mental health symptoms were common: mild to severe anxiety (n=4694, 59.8%), moderate to severe burnout (n=5458, 70.9%) and mild to severe depression (n=4495, 57.3%). Participants were highly resilient (mean (SD)=3.2 (0.66)). Predictors for worse outcomes on all scales included female gender; younger age; pre-existing psychiatric condition; experiencing relationship problems; nursing, allied health or other roles; frontline area; being worried about being blamed by colleagues and working with patients with COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with significant mental health symptoms in frontline healthcare workers. Crisis preparedness together with policies and practices addressing psychological well-being are needed.

3.
Gen Hosp Psychiatry ; 72: 124-130, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364025

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The Australian COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers Study investigated coping strategies and help-seeking behaviours, and their relationship to mental health symptoms experienced by Australian healthcare workers (HCWs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Australian HCWs were invited to participate a nationwide, voluntary, anonymous, single time-point, online survey between 27th August and 23rd October 2020. Complete responses on demographics, home and work situation, and measures of health and psychological wellbeing were received from 7846 participants. RESULTS: The most commonly reported adaptive coping strategies were maintaining exercise (44.9%) and social connections (31.7%). Over a quarter of HCWs (26.3%) reported increased alcohol use which was associated with a history of poor mental health and worse personal relationships. Few used psychological wellbeing apps or sought professional help; those who did were more likely to be suffering from moderate to severe symptoms of mental illness. People living in Victoria, in regional areas, and those with children at home were significantly less likely to report adaptive coping strategies. CONCLUSIONS: Personal, social, and workplace predictors of coping strategies and help-seeking behaviour during the pandemic were identified. Use of maladaptive coping strategies and low rates of professional help-seeking indicate an urgent need to understand the effectiveness of, and the barriers and enablers of accessing, different coping strategies.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19 , Health Personnel , Pandemics , Psychological Distress , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Health Personnel/psychology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Help-Seeking Behavior , Humans , Male , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
5.
Cell Rep Med ; 2(3): 100208, 2021 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065663

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 causes a spectrum of COVID-19 disease, the immunological basis of which remains ill defined. We analyzed 85 SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals at acute and/or convalescent time points, up to 102 days after symptom onset, quantifying 184 immunological parameters. Acute COVID-19 presented with high levels of IL-6, IL-18, and IL-10 and broad activation marked by the upregulation of CD38 on innate and adaptive lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Importantly, activated CXCR3+cTFH1 cells in acute COVID-19 significantly correlate with and predict antibody levels and their avidity at convalescence as well as acute neutralization activity. Strikingly, intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe COVID-19 display higher levels of soluble IL-6, IL-6R, and IL-18, and hyperactivation of innate, adaptive, and myeloid compartments than patients with moderate disease. Our analyses provide a comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses in COVID-19 patients and integrate key cellular pathways of complex immune networks underpinning severe COVID-19, providing important insights into potential biomarkers and immunotherapies.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation , COVID-19/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , B-Lymphocytes/cytology , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interleukin-18/metabolism , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, CXCR3/metabolism , Receptors, Interleukin-6/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Th1 Cells/cytology , Th1 Cells/metabolism , Young Adult
6.
Infect Dis Health ; 26(2): 95-103, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-917301

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Adequate preparation and support for healthcare workers (HCWs) managing high-consequence infectious diseases (HCIDs) is critical to the overall clinical management of HCIDs. Qualitative studies examining how well prepared and supported HCWs feel are lacking despite their key role. This study investigated how prepared and supported front-line HCWs at an Australian tertiary hospital felt about managing HCIDs such as viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF). METHODS: A qualitative research approach was used to undertake interviews with 45 Royal Melbourne Hospital medical and nursing staff from emergency, intensive care and infectious diseases. Interview questions captured data on HCWs' role, familiarity with using protocols, psychological attributes and training for scenarios related to VHF patient management. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Categorical responses were analysed quantitatively and open-ended responses were analysed thematically. RESULTS: Ninety-eight percent of participants indicated feeling capable of undertaking their role in managing VHF patients; 77% felt supported through personnel/resources. However, 69% indicated barriers to managing these patients effectively; and 68% felt anxious at the prospect of managing VHF patients. Themes emerging from participants' observations included concerns about training frequency, miscommunication, difficulty with uncertainty, feeling underprepared, and fear of transmitting infection to others. CONCLUSION: Although the majority of HCWs feel confident about their ability to care for VHF patients, they also have a moderately-high degree of anxiety. Perceptions of interviewed staff have fed into recommendations to increase HCW preparedness and reduce anxiety, which include investigating support services, and exploring training options that create multi-departmental groups of highly specialised medical officers and nurses.


Subject(s)
Attitude of Health Personnel , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Health Personnel , Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral/therapy , Adult , Anxiety/etiology , Female , Health Personnel/psychology , Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral/prevention & control , Humans , Infection Control , Male , Middle Aged , Qualitative Research , Simulation Training , Tertiary Care Centers
8.
Med J Aust ; 213(3): 134-139, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-732703

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 led to the declaration of a global pandemic within 3 months of its emergence. The majority of patients presenting with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) experience a mild illness that can usually be managed in the community. Patients require careful monitoring and early referral to hospital if any signs of clinical deterioration occur. Increased age and the presence of comorbidities are associated with more severe disease and poorer outcomes. Treatment for COVID-19 is currently predominantly supportive care, focused on appropriate management of respiratory dysfunction. Clinical evidence is emerging for some specific therapies (including antiviral and immune-modulating agents). Investigational therapies for COVID-19 should be used in the context of approved randomised controlled trials. Australian clinicians need to be able to recognise, diagnose, manage and appropriately refer patients affected by COVID-19, with thousands of cases likely to present over the coming years.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Age Factors , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Australia/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
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