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J Transl Med ; 18(1): 489, 2020 12 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-992501


BACKGROUND: In 1918 an unknown infectious agent spread around the world infecting over one-third of the general population and killing almost 50 million people. Many countries were at war, the First World War. Since Spain was a neutral country and Spanish press could report about the infection without censorship, this condition is commonly remembered as "Spanish influenza". This review examines several aspects during the 1918 influenza pandemic to bring out evidences which might be useful to imagine the possible magnitude of the present coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: In the first part of this review we will examine the origin of the SARS-Coronavirus-2 and 1918 Spanish Influenza Virus and the role played by host and environment in its diffusion. We will also include in our analysis an evaluation of different approaches utilized to restrain the spread of pandemic and to treat infected patients. In the second part, we will try to imagine the magnitude of the present COVID-19 pandemic and the possible measures able to restrain in the present environment its spread. RESULTS: Several factors characterize the outcome in a viral pandemic infection. They include the complete knowledge of the virus, the complete knowledge of the host and of the environment where the host lives and the pandemic develops. CONCLUSION: By comparing the situation seen in 1918 with the current one, we are now in a more favourable position. The experience of the past teaches us that their success is linked to a rapid, constant and lasting application. Then, rather than coercion, awareness of the need to observe such prevention measures works better.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919/history , Influenza, Human/history , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines , History, 20th Century , History, 21st Century , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919/statistics & numerical data , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/virology , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Physical Distancing , Spain/epidemiology
J Immunother Cancer ; 8(2)2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-713881


BACKGROUND: The inflammatory pathology observed in severe COVID-19 disease caused by the 2019 novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is characterized by elevated serum levels of C reactive protein (CRP) and cytokines, including interferon gamma, interleukin 8 (IL-8), and interleukin 6 (IL-6). Initial reports from the outbreak in Italy, China and the USA have provided anecdotal evidence of improved outcomes with the administration of anti-IL-6 agents, and large-scale trials evaluating these therapies are ongoing. STUDY DESCRIPTION: In this retrospective case series, clinical outcomes and correlates of response to treatment with the IL-6 receptor antagonist sarilumab are described for 15 patients with COVID-19 from a single institution in Southern Italy. Among 10 patients whose symptoms improved after sarilumab treatment, rapid decreases in CRP levels corresponded with clinical improvement. Lower levels of IL-6 at baseline as well as lower neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio as compared with patients whose COVID-19 did not improve with treatment were associated with sarilumab-responsive disease. CONCLUSIONS: This observation may reflect a possible clinical benefit regarding early intervention with IL-6-modulatory therapies for COVID-19 and that CRP could be a potential biomarker of response to treatment.

Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , Biomarkers, Pharmacological/blood , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Interleukin-6/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Aged , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/diagnostic imaging , Female , Humans , Italy , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Neutrophils , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnostic imaging , Receptors, Interleukin-6/antagonists & inhibitors , Retrospective Studies , Treatment Outcome