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Cancers (Basel) ; 13(12)2021 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264417


Severe acute respiratory virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread globally leading to a devastating loss of life. Large registry studies have begun to shed light on the epidemiological and clinical vulnerabilities of cancer patients who succumb to or endure poor outcomes of SARS-CoV-2. Specific treatment for COVID-19 infections in cancer patients is lacking while the demand for treatment is increasing. Therefore, we explored the effect of Rintatolimod (Ampligen®) (AIM ImmunoTech, Ocala, FL, USA), a Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) agonist, to treat uninfected human pancreatic cancer cells (HPACs). The direct effect of Rintatolimod was measured by targeted gene expression profiling and by proteomics measurements. Our results show that Rintatolimod induces an antiviral effect in HPACs by inducing RNase-L-dependent and independent pathways of the innate immune system. Treatment with Rintatolimod activated the interferon signaling pathway, leading to the overexpression of several cytokines and chemokines in epithelial cells. Furthermore, Rintatolimod treatment increased the expression of angiogenesis-related genes without promoting fibrosis, which is the main cause of death in patients with COVID-19. We conclude that Rintatolimod could be considered an early additional treatment option for cancer patients who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 to prevent the complicated severity of the disease.

Infect Dis (Lond) ; 53(7): 488-497, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091292


BACKGROUND: The first outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) occurred in March 2020 in Europe, which is normally the peak incidence period of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) infections, implying cocirculation and potentially causing competition between them. METHODS: We investigated differences in clinical characteristics and outcomes of HMPV infections in hospitalized patients before (January 2016-28 February, 2020) and HMPV and COVID-19 during part of the COVID-19 pandemic (28 February, 2020-1 April, 2020). RESULTS: A total of 239 HMPV patients and 303 COVID-19 patients were included. Incidence of HMPV peaked in March. Despite a 324% increase in HMPV testing during the COVID-19 outbreak, incidence of HMPV remained stable. Clinical characteristics showed 25 (11%) ICU admissions and 14 (6%) deaths. History of myocardial infarction, higher age and lower BMI were independently associated with increased 30-day mortality. Clinical characteristics of HMPV-infected patients did not differ between the non-COVID-19 period and the examined COVID-19 period except for length of hospital stay (7 vs. 5 days). HMPV infection and COVID-19 shared many clinical features but HMPV was associated with female gender, elderly patients and chronic conditions (COPD and chronic heart failure). Clinical outcomes did not differ between the viruses during the COVID-19 period. CONCLUSIONS: The clinical impact of HMPV infection did not change during the COVID-19 outbreak in terms of incidence and/or disease severity; hence, HMPV and SARS-CoV-2 are probably co-circulating independently. Despite the current clinical focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians should keep in mind that HMPV-infection may mimic COVID-19 and is also associated with serious adverse outcomes.

COVID-19 , Metapneumovirus , Paramyxoviridae Infections , Respiratory Tract Infections , Aged , Europe , Female , Humans , Infant , Pandemics , Paramyxoviridae Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
Virus Res ; 287: 198094, 2020 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-680841


The past century has witnessed major advances in the control of many infectious diseases, yet outbreaks and epidemics caused by (re-) emerging RNA viruses continue to pose a global threat to human health. As illustrated by the global COVID19 pandemic, high healthcare costs, economic disruption and loss of productivity reinforce the unmet medical need to develop new antiviral strategies to combat not only the current pandemic but also future viral outbreaks. Pivotal for effective anti-viral defense is the innate immune system, a first line host response that senses and responds to virus infection. While molecular details of the innate immune response are well characterized, this research field is now being revolutionized with the recognition that cell metabolism has a major impact on the antiviral and inflammatory responses to virus infections. A detailed understanding of the role of metabolic regulation with respect to antiviral and inflammatory responses, together with knowledge of the strategies used by viruses to exploit immunometabolic pathways, will ultimately change our understanding and treatment of pathogenic viral diseases. INITIATE is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN), with the goal to train 15 early stage PhD researchers (ESRs) to become experts in antiviral immunometabolism ( To this end, INITIATE brings together a highly complementary international team of academic and corporate leaders from 7 European countries, with outstanding track records in the historically distinct research fields of virology, immunology and metabolism. The ESRs of INITIATE are trained in these interdisciplinary research fields through individual investigator-driven research projects, specialized scientific training events, workshops on academia-industry interactions, outreach & communication. INITIATE will deliver a new generation of creative and entrepreneurial researchers who will be able to face the inevitable future challenges in combating viral diseases.

Betacoronavirus/immunology , Biomedical Research/methods , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Education, Medical/methods , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/economics , Delivery of Health Care/economics , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Host-Pathogen Interactions/physiology , Humans , Pandemics/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/economics , SARS-CoV-2