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Thromb Haemost ; 122(6): 984-997, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915318


Two years since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) pandemic, there remain few clinically effective drugs to complement vaccines. One is the anticoagulant, heparin, which in 2004 was found able to inhibit invasion of SARS-CoV (CoV-1) and which has been employed during the current pandemic to prevent thromboembolic complications and moderate potentially damaging inflammation. Heparin has also been shown experimentally to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 attachment and infection in susceptible cells. At high therapeutic doses however, heparin increases the risk of bleeding and prolonged use can cause heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, a serious side effect. One alternative, with structural similarities to heparin, is the plant-derived, semi-synthetic polysaccharide, pentosan polysulfate (PPS). PPS is an established drug for the oral treatment of interstitial cystitis, is well-tolerated, and exhibits weaker anticoagulant effects than heparin. In an established Vero cell model, PPS and its fractions of varying molecular weights inhibited invasion by SARS-CoV-2. Intact PPS and its size-defined fractions were characterized by molecular weight distribution and chemical structure using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, then employed to explore the structural basis of interactions with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding domain (S1 RBD) and the inhibition of Vero cell invasion. PPS was as effective as unfractionated heparin, but more effective in inhibiting cell infection than low-molecular-weight heparin (on a weight/volume basis). Isothermal titration calorimetry and viral plaque-forming assays demonstrated size-dependent binding to S1 RBD and inhibition of Vero cell invasion, suggesting the potential application of PPS as a novel inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Attachment , Animals , Anticoagulants/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Heparin/therapeutic use , Pentosan Sulfuric Polyester/pharmacology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vero Cells , Virus Attachment/drug effects
Immunol Res ; 69(6): 553-557, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345196


The persistence of neurological symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection, as well as the presence of late axonal damage, is still unknown. We performed extensive systemic and neurological follow-up evaluations in 107 out of 193 consecutive patients admitted to the COVID-19 medical unit, University Hospital of Verona, Italy between March and June 2020. We analysed serum neurofilament light chain (NfL) levels in all cases including a subgroup (n = 29) of patients with available onset samples. Comparisons between clinical and biomarker data were then performed. Neurological symptoms were still present in a significant number (n = 49) of patients over the follow-up. The most common reported symptoms were hyposmia (n = 11), fatigue (n = 28), myalgia (n = 14), and impaired memory (n = 11) and were more common in cases with severe acute COVID-19. Follow-up serum NfL values (15.2 pg/mL, range 2.4-62.4) were within normal range in all except 5 patients and did not differentiate patients with vs without persistent neurological symptoms. In patients with available onset and follow-up samples, a significant (p < 0.001) decrease of NfL levels was observed and was more evident in patients with a severe acute disease. Despite the common persistence of neurological symptoms, COVID-19 survivors do not show active axonal damage, which seems a peculiar feature of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Axons/pathology , COVID-19/pathology , Nervous System Diseases/pathology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Ageusia/pathology , Ageusia/virology , Anosmia/pathology , Anosmia/virology , Axons/virology , Disease Progression , Fatigue/pathology , Fatigue/virology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Memory Disorders/pathology , Memory Disorders/virology , Middle Aged , Myalgia/pathology , Myalgia/virology , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Neurofilament Proteins/blood , SARS-CoV-2
J Neurovirol ; 27(4): 631-637, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338291


SARS-CoV-2 survivors may report persistent symptoms that resemble myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). We explored (a) ME/CFS-like symptom prevalence and (b) whether axonal, inflammatory, and/or lung changes may contribute to ME/CFS-like symptoms in SARS-CoV-2 survivors through clinical, neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, lung function assessment, and serum neurofilament light chain, an axonal damage biomarker. ME/CFS-like features were found in 27% of our sample. ME/CFS-like group showed worse sleep quality, fatigue, pain, depressive symptoms, subjective cognitive complaints, Borg baseline dyspnea of the 6-min walking test vs. those without ME/CFS-like symptoms. These preliminary findings raise concern on a possible future ME/CFS-like pandemic in SARS-CoV-2 survivors.

COVID-19/complications , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/epidemiology , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/virology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2