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J Am Soc Nephrol ; 32(3): 708-722, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496675


BACKGROUND: Late antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) is a leading cause of transplant failure. Blocking IL-6 has been proposed as a promising therapeutic strategy. METHODS: We performed a phase 2 randomized pilot trial to evaluate the safety (primary endpoint) and efficacy (secondary endpoint analysis) of the anti-IL-6 antibody clazakizumab in late ABMR. The trial included 20 kidney transplant recipients with donor-specific, antibody-positive ABMR ≥365 days post-transplantation. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive 25 mg clazakizumab or placebo (4-weekly subcutaneous injections) for 12 weeks (part A), followed by a 40-week open-label extension (part B), during which time all participants received clazakizumab. RESULTS: Five (25%) patients under active treatment developed serious infectious events, and two (10%) developed diverticular disease complications, leading to trial withdrawal. Those receiving clazakizumab displayed significantly decreased donor-specific antibodies and, on prolonged treatment, modulated rejection-related gene-expression patterns. In 18 patients, allograft biopsies after 51 weeks revealed a negative molecular ABMR score in seven (38.9%), disappearance of capillary C4d deposits in five (27.8%), and resolution of morphologic ABMR activity in four (22.2%). Although proteinuria remained stable, the mean eGFR decline during part A was slower with clazakizumab compared with placebo (-0.96; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], -1.96 to 0.03 versus -2.43; 95% CI, -3.40 to -1.46 ml/min per 1.73 m2 per month, respectively, P=0.04). During part B, the slope of eGFR decline for patients who were switched from placebo to clazakizumab improved and no longer differed significantly from patients initially allocated to clazakizumab. CONCLUSIONS: Although safety data indicate the need for careful patient selection and monitoring, our preliminary efficacy results suggest a potentially beneficial effect of clazakizumab on ABMR activity and progression.

Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , Graft Rejection/therapy , Interleukin-6/antagonists & inhibitors , Kidney Transplantation/adverse effects , Adult , Allografts , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/adverse effects , Double-Blind Method , Female , Glomerular Filtration Rate , Graft Rejection/immunology , Graft Rejection/physiopathology , Humans , Infections/etiology , Interleukin-6/immunology , Isoantibodies/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Tissue Donors , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 651484, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430688


This study aimed to determine the specific cytokine profile in peripheral blood during the early onset of COVID-19 infection. This was a cross-sectional exploratory, single center study. A total of 55 plasma samples were studied. Serum samples of adults showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection who were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection (CoV+, n=18) at the COVID-19 outpatient clinic of the Medical University of Vienna were screened for immune activation markers by Luminex technology. Additionally, age and gender-matched serum samples of patients displaying COVID-19 associated symptoms, but tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 (CoV-, n=16) as well as healthy controls (HC, n=21) were analyzed. COVID-19 positive (CoV+) patients showed a specific upregulation of BLC (141; 74-189 pg/mL), SCD30 (273; 207-576 pg/mL), MCP-2 (18; 12-30 pg/mL) and IP-10 (37; 23-96 pg/mL), compared to patients with COVID19-like symptoms but negative PCR test (CoV-), BLC (61; 22-100 pg/mL), sCD30L (161; 120-210 pg/mL), MCP-2 (8; 5-12 pg/mL) and IP-10 (9; 6-12 pg/mL) and healthy controls (HC) (BLC 22; 11-36 pg/mL, sCD30 74; 39-108 pg/mL, MCP-2 6; 3-9. pg/mL, IP-10 = 8; 5-13). The markers APRIL, sIL-2R, IL7, MIF, MIP-1b, SCF, SDF-1a, sTNF-RII were elevated in both CoV+ and CoV- patient groups compared to healthy controls. HGF, MDC and VEGF-A were elevated in CoV- but not CoV+ compared to healthy controls. BLC, sCD30, MCP-2 and IP-10 are specifically induced during early stages of COVID-19 infection and might constitute attractive targets for early diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

COVID-19 , Biomarkers , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
EBioMedicine ; 67: 103348, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201238


BACKGROUND: Antibody tests are essential tools to investigate humoral immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination. While first-generation antibody tests have primarily provided qualitative results, accurate seroprevalence studies and tracking of antibody levels over time require highly specific, sensitive and quantitative test setups. METHODS: We have developed two quantitative, easy-to-implement SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests, based on the spike receptor binding domain and the nucleocapsid protein. Comprehensive evaluation of antigens from several biotechnological platforms enabled the identification of superior antigen designs for reliable serodiagnostic. Cut-off modelling based on unprecedented large and heterogeneous multicentric validation cohorts allowed us to define optimal thresholds for the tests' broad applications in different aspects of clinical use, such as seroprevalence studies and convalescent plasma donor qualification. FINDINGS: Both developed serotests individually performed similarly-well as fully-automated CE-marked test systems. Our described sensitivity-improved orthogonal test approach assures highest specificity (99.8%); thereby enabling robust serodiagnosis in low-prevalence settings with simple test formats. The inclusion of a calibrator permits accurate quantitative monitoring of antibody concentrations in samples collected at different time points during the acute and convalescent phase of COVID-19 and disclosed antibody level thresholds that correlate well with robust neutralization of authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus. INTERPRETATION: We demonstrate that antigen source and purity strongly impact serotest performance. Comprehensive biotechnology-assisted selection of antigens and in-depth characterisation of the assays allowed us to overcome limitations of simple ELISA-based antibody test formats based on chromometric reporters, to yield comparable assay performance as fully-automated platforms. FUNDING: WWTF, Project No. COV20-016; BOKU, LBI/LBG.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , Binding Sites , CHO Cells , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetulus , Early Diagnosis , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Middle Aged , Sensitivity and Specificity , Young Adult