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Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 641920, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1170079


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a biofilm-forming opportunistic pathogen which causes chronic infections in immunocompromised patients and leads to high mortality rate. It is identified as a common coinfecting pathogen in COVID-19 patients causing exacerbation of illness. In our hospital, P. aeruginosa is one of the top coinfecting bacteria identified among COVID-19 patients. We collected a strong biofilm-forming P. aeruginosa strain displaying small colony variant morphology from a severe COVID-19 patient. Genomic and transcriptomic sequencing analyses were performed with phenotypic validation to investigate its adaptation in SARS-CoV-2 infected environment. Genomic characterization predicted specific genomic islands highly associated with virulence, transcriptional regulation, and DNA restriction-modification systems. Epigenetic analysis revealed a specific N6-methyl adenine (m6A) methylating pattern including methylation of alginate, flagellar and quorum sensing associated genes. Differential gene expression analysis indicated that this isolate formed excessive biofilm by reducing flagellar formation (7.4 to 1,624.1 folds) and overproducing extracellular matrix components including CdrA (4.4 folds), alginate (5.2 to 29.1 folds) and Pel (4.8-5.5 folds). In summary, we demonstrated that P. aeuginosa clinical isolates with novel epigenetic markers could form excessive biofilm, which might enhance its antibiotic resistance and in vivo colonization in COVID-19 patients.

Adaptation, Physiological/physiology , COVID-19/complications , Coinfection/complications , Pseudomonas Infections/complications , Pseudomonas aeruginosa/genetics , Pseudomonas aeruginosa/metabolism , Adhesins, Bacterial/genetics , Adhesins, Bacterial/metabolism , Alginates , Bacteria , Biofilms/growth & development , DNA Methylation , Epigenomics , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial , Genome, Bacterial , Humans , Pseudomonas Infections/immunology , Pseudomonas Infections/microbiology , Pseudomonas aeruginosa/classification , Quorum Sensing/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome , Virulence
JAMA Intern Med ; 181(1): 71-78, 2021 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-775497


Importance: Lymphopenia is common and correlates with poor clinical outcomes in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Objective: To determine whether a therapy that increases peripheral blood leukocyte and lymphocyte cell counts leads to clinical improvement in patients with COVID-19. Design, Setting and Participants: Between February 18 and April 10, 2020, we conducted an open-label, multicenter, randomized clinical trial at 3 participating centers in China. The main eligibility criteria were pneumonia, a blood lymphocyte cell count of 800 per µL (to convert to ×109/L, multiply by 0.001) or lower, and no comorbidities. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection was confirmed with reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction testing. Exposures: Usual care alone, or usual care plus 3 doses of recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (rhG-CSF, 5 µg/kg, subcutaneously at days 0-2). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary end point was the time from randomization to improvement of at least 1 point on a 7-category disease severity score. Results: Of 200 participants, 112 (56%) were men and the median (interquartile range [IQR]) age was 45 (40-55) years. There was random assignment of 100 patients (50%) to the rhG-CSF group and 100 (50%) to the usual care group. Time to clinical improvement was similar between groups (rhG-CSF group median of 12 days (IQR, 10-16 days) vs usual care group median of 13 days (IQR, 11-17 days); hazard ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 0.95-1.71; P = .06). For secondary end points, the proportion of patients progressing to acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, or septic shock was lower in the rhG-CSF group (rhG-CSF group, 2% vs usual care group, 15%; difference, -13%; 95%CI, -21.4% to -5.4%). At 21 days, 2 patients (2%) had died in the rhG-CSF group compared with 10 patients (10%) in the usual care group (hazard ratio, 0.19; 95%CI, 0.04-0.88). At day 5, the lymphocyte cell count was higher in the rhG-CSF group (rhG-CSF group median of 1050/µL vs usual care group median of 620/µL; Hodges-Lehmann estimate of the difference in medians, 440; 95% CI, 380-490). Serious adverse events, such as sepsis or septic shock, respiratory failure, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, occurred in 29 patients (14.5%) in the rhG-CSF group and 42 patients (21%) in the usual care group. Conclusion and Relevance: In preliminary findings from a randomized clinical trial, rhG-CSF treatment for patients with COVID-19 with lymphopenia but no comorbidities did not accelerate clinical improvement, but the number of patients developing critical illness or dying may have been reduced. Larger studies that include a broader range of patients with COVID-19 should be conducted. Trial Registration: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR2000030007.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/therapeutic use , Hematologic Agents/therapeutic use , Hospital Mortality , Lymphopenia/drug therapy , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/therapeutic use , Adult , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , B-Lymphocytes , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/physiopathology , China , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Killer Cells, Natural , Leukocyte Count , Lymphocyte Count , Lymphopenia/blood , Lymphopenia/complications , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , Noninvasive Ventilation , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy , Recombinant Proteins , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/physiopathology , Respiratory Insufficiency/physiopathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sepsis/physiopathology , Shock, Septic/physiopathology , Time Factors
Trials ; 21(1): 394, 2020 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-244906


BACKGROUND: Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections at the primary care level represents the major source of antibiotic misuse in healthcare, and is a major driver for antimicrobial resistance worldwide. In this study we will develop, pilot and evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive antibiotic stewardship programme in China's primary care hospitals to reduce inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections among all ages. METHODS: We will use a parallel-group, cluster-randomised, controlled, superiority trial with blinded outcome evaluation but unblinded treatment (providers and patients). We will randomise 34 primary care hospitals from two counties within Guangdong province into the intervention and control arm (1:1 overall ratio) stratified by county (8:9 within-county ratio). In the control arm, antibiotic prescribing and management will continue through usual care. In the intervention arm, we will implement an antibiotic stewardship programme targeting family physicians and patients/caregivers. The family physician components include: (1) training using new operational guidelines, (2) improved management and peer-review of antibiotic prescribing, (3) improved electronic medical records and smart phone app facilitation. The patient/caregiver component involves patient education via family physicians, leaflets and videos. The primary outcome is the proportion of prescriptions for acute respiratory infections (excluding pneumonia) that contain any antibiotic(s). Secondary outcomes will address how frequently specific classes of antibiotics are prescribed, how frequently key non-antibiotic alternatives are prescribed and the costs of consultations. We will conduct a qualitative process evaluation to explore operational questions regarding acceptability, cultural appropriateness and burden of technology use, as well as a cost-effectiveness analysis and a long-term benefit evaluation. The duration of the intervention will be 12 months, with another 24 months' post-trial long-term follow-up. DISCUSSION: Our study is one of the first trials to evaluate the effect of an antibiotic stewardship programme in primary care settings in a low- or middle-income country (LMIC). All interventional activities will be designed to be embedded into routine primary care with strong local ownership. Through the trial we intend to impact on clinical practice and national policy in antibiotic prescription for primary care facilities in rural China and other LMICs. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ID: ISRCTN96892547. Registered on 18 August 2019.

Antimicrobial Stewardship/methods , Inappropriate Prescribing/prevention & control , Primary Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Acute Disease , Ambulatory Care Facilities/statistics & numerical data , Caregivers/education , China/epidemiology , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Drug Resistance, Microbial , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Mobile Applications , Patient Education as Topic/methods , Physicians, Family/education , Qualitative Research , Rural Population , Smartphone/instrumentation