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1.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(11): 1255-1265, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594095

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Heterologous vaccine regimens have been widely discussed as a way to mitigate intermittent supply shortages and to improve immunogenicity and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. We aimed to assess the reactogenicity and immunogenicity of heterologous immunisations with ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNtech, Mainz, Germany) compared with homologous BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 nCov-19 immunisation. METHODS: This is an interim analysis of a prospective observational cohort study enrolling health-care workers in Berlin (Germany) who received either homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 or heterologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 vaccination with a 10-12-week vaccine interval or homologous BNT162b2 vaccination with a 3-week vaccine interval. We assessed reactogenicity after the first and second vaccination by use of electronic questionnaires on days 1, 3, 5, and 7. Immunogenicity was measured by the presence of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies (full spike-IgG, S1-IgG, and RBD-IgG), by an RBD-ACE2 binding inhibition assay (surrogate SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralisation test), a pseudovirus neutralisation assay against two variants of concerns (alpha [B.1.1.7] and beta [B.1.351]), and anti-S1-IgG avidity. T-cell reactivity was measured by IFN-γ release assay. FINDINGS: Between Dec 27, 2020, and June 14, 2021, 380 participants were enrolled in the study, with 174 receiving homologous BNT162b2 vaccination, 38 receiving homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination, and 104 receiving ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 vaccination. Systemic symptoms were reported by 103 (65%, 95% CI 57·1-71·8) of 159 recipients of homologous BNT162b2, 14 (39%, 24·8-55·1) of 36 recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19, and 51 (49%, 39·6-58·5) of 104 recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 after the booster immunisation. Median anti-RBD IgG levels 3 weeks after boost immunisation were 5·4 signal to cutoff ratio (S/co; IQR 4·8-5·9) in recipients of homologous BNT162b2, 4·9 S/co (4·3-5·6) in recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19, and 5·6 S/co (5·1-6·1) in recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19- BNT162b2. Geometric mean of 50% inhibitory dose against alpha and beta variants were highest in recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 (956·6, 95% CI 835·6-1095, against alpha and 417·1, 349·3-498·2, against beta) compared with those in recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (212·5, 131·2-344·4, against alpha and 48·5, 28·4-82·8, against beta; both p<0·0001) or homologous BNT162b2 (369·2, 310·7-438·6, against alpha and 72·4, 60·5-86·5, against beta; both p<0·0001). SARS-CoV-2 S1 T-cell reactivity 3 weeks after boost immunisation was highest in recipients of ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 (median IFN-γ concentration 4762 mIU/mL, IQR 2723-8403) compared with that in recipients of homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (1061 mIU/mL, 599-2274, p<0·0001) and homologous BNT162b2 (2026 mIU/mL, 1459-4621, p=0·0008) vaccination. INTERPRETATION: The heterologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19-BNT162b2 immunisation with 10-12-week interval, recommended in Germany, is well tolerated and improves immunogenicity compared with homologous ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination with 10-12-week interval and BNT162b2 vaccination with 3-week interval. Heterologous prime-boost immunisation strategies for COVID-19 might be generally applicable. FUNDING: Forschungsnetzwerk der Universitätsmedizin zu COVID-19, the German Ministry of Education and Research, Zalando SE.

3.
Euro Surveill ; 26(34)2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417055

ABSTRACT

BackgroundSchool attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic is intensely debated.AimIn November 2020, we assessed SARS-CoV-2 infections and seroreactivity in 24 randomly selected school classes and connected households in Berlin, Germany.MethodsWe collected oro-nasopharyngeal swabs and blood samples, examining SARS-CoV-2 infection and IgG antibodies by RT-PCR and ELISA. Household members self-swabbed. We assessed individual and institutional prevention measures. Classes with SARS-CoV-2 infection and connected households were retested after 1 week.ResultsWe examined 1,119 participants, including 177 primary and 175 secondary school students, 142 staff and 625 household members. SARS-CoV-2 infection occurred in eight classes, affecting each 1-2 individuals. Infection prevalence was 2.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-5.0; 9/338), 1.4% (95% CI: 0.2-5.1; 2/140), and 2.3% (95% CI: 1.3-3.8; 14/611) among students, staff and household members. Six of nine infected students were asymptomatic at testing. We detected IgG antibodies in 2.0% (95%CI: 0.8-4.1; 7/347), 1.4% (95% CI: 0.2-5.0; 2/141) and 1.4% (95% CI: 0.6-2.7; 8/576). Prevalence increased with inconsistent facemask-use in school, walking to school, and case-contacts outside school. For three of nine households with infection(s), origin in school seemed possible. After 1 week, no school-related secondary infections appeared in affected classes; the attack rate in connected households was 1.1%.ConclusionSchool attendance under rigorously implemented preventive measures seems reasonable. Balancing risks and benefits of school closures need to consider possible spill-over infection into households. Deeper insight is required into the infection risks due to being a schoolchild vs attending school.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Berlin , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Schools
4.
Eur J Public Health ; 31(5): 1105-1107, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387873

ABSTRACT

Actual surveys in kindergartens on SARS-CoV-2 infections are rare. At the beginning of the second pandemic wave, we screened 12 randomly selected kindergartens in Berlin, Germany. A total of 720 participants (pre-school children, staff and connected household members) were briefly examined and interviewed, and SARS-CoV-2 infections and anti-SARS-Cov-2 IgG antibodies were assessed. About a quarter of the participants showed common cold-resembling symptoms. However, no SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected, and only one childcare worker showed IgG seroreactivity. Against a backdrop of increased pandemic activity in the community, this cross-sectional study does not suggest that kindergartens are silent transmission reservoirs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Berlin , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans
5.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(8): 2174-2178, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261342

ABSTRACT

We detected delayed and reduced antibody and T-cell responses after BNT162b2 vaccination in 71 elderly persons (median age 81 years) compared with 123 healthcare workers (median age 34 years) in Germany. These data emphasize that nonpharmaceutical interventions for coronavirus disease remain crucial and that additional immunizations for the elderly might become necessary.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 Vaccines , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
6.
Infection ; 49(4): 703-714, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198523

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Adequate patient allocation is pivotal for optimal resource management in strained healthcare systems, and requires detailed knowledge of clinical and virological disease trajectories. The purpose of this work was to identify risk factors associated with need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), to analyse viral kinetics in patients with and without IMV and to provide a comprehensive description of clinical course. METHODS: A cohort of 168 hospitalised adult COVID-19 patients enrolled in a prospective observational study at a large European tertiary care centre was analysed. RESULTS: Forty-four per cent (71/161) of patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Shorter duration of symptoms before admission (aOR 1.22 per day less, 95% CI 1.10-1.37, p < 0.01) and history of hypertension (aOR 5.55, 95% CI 2.00-16.82, p < 0.01) were associated with need for IMV. Patients on IMV had higher maximal concentrations, slower decline rates, and longer shedding of SARS-CoV-2 than non-IMV patients (33 days, IQR 26-46.75, vs 18 days, IQR 16-46.75, respectively, p < 0.01). Median duration of hospitalisation was 9 days (IQR 6-15.5) for non-IMV and 49.5 days (IQR 36.8-82.5) for IMV patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate a short duration of symptoms before admission as a risk factor for severe disease that merits further investigation and different viral load kinetics in severely affected patients. Median duration of hospitalisation of IMV patients was longer than described for acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Kinetics , Prospective Studies , Respiration, Artificial , Risk Factors , Tertiary Care Centers , Time Factors , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
8.
Nat Biotechnol ; 38(8): 970-979, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023942

ABSTRACT

To investigate the immune response and mechanisms associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on nasopharyngeal and bronchial samples from 19 clinically well-characterized patients with moderate or critical disease and from five healthy controls. We identified airway epithelial cell types and states vulnerable to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. In patients with COVID-19, epithelial cells showed an average three-fold increase in expression of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2, which correlated with interferon signals by immune cells. Compared to moderate cases, critical cases exhibited stronger interactions between epithelial and immune cells, as indicated by ligand-receptor expression profiles, and activated immune cells, including inflammatory macrophages expressing CCL2, CCL3, CCL20, CXCL1, CXCL3, CXCL10, IL8, IL1B and TNF. The transcriptional differences in critical cases compared to moderate cases likely contribute to clinical observations of heightened inflammatory tissue damage, lung injury and respiratory failure. Our data suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of the CCR1 and/or CCR5 pathways might suppress immune hyperactivation in critical COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Respiratory System/pathology , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcriptome , Adult , Aged , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19 , Cell Communication , Cell Differentiation , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Immune System/pathology , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/pathology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , Severity of Illness Index
9.
BMC Med Inform Decis Mak ; 20(1): 341, 2020 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-992476

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge of research activity. While this research provides important insights, the multitude of studies results in an increasing fragmentation of information. To ensure comparability across projects and institutions, standard datasets are needed. Here, we introduce the "German Corona Consensus Dataset" (GECCO), a uniform dataset that uses international terminologies and health IT standards to improve interoperability of COVID-19 data, in particular for university medicine. METHODS: Based on previous work (e.g., the ISARIC-WHO COVID-19 case report form) and in coordination with experts from university hospitals, professional associations and research initiatives, data elements relevant for COVID-19 research were collected, prioritized and consolidated into a compact core dataset. The dataset was mapped to international terminologies, and the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard was used to define interoperable, machine-readable data formats. RESULTS: A core dataset consisting of 81 data elements with 281 response options was defined, including information about, for example, demography, medical history, symptoms, therapy, medications or laboratory values of COVID-19 patients. Data elements and response options were mapped to SNOMED CT, LOINC, UCUM, ICD-10-GM and ATC, and FHIR profiles for interoperable data exchange were defined. CONCLUSION: GECCO provides a compact, interoperable dataset that can help to make COVID-19 research data more comparable across studies and institutions. The dataset will be further refined in the future by adding domain-specific extension modules for more specialized use cases.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research , COVID-19 , Datasets as Topic , Medicine , Consensus , Humans , Pandemics
10.
Hautarzt ; 71(11): 887-897, 2020 Nov.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-684651

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Teledermatology addresses the problems associated with the lack of specialists and the often long waiting time for an appointment with a dermatologist. The research project Online Dermatologist-AppDoc enables a fast anonymous expert opinion and was approved on 22 October 2018 by the Landesärztekammer Baden-Württemberg for 2 years as a model project. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present work is the presentation of the first real healthcare data for German teledematology within the framework of the external quality assurance of the model project Online Dermatologist-AppDoc. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Anonymous data records submitted to Online Dermatologist-AppDoc between 21 November 2018 and 1 August 2019 were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively at the Department of Dermatology of the University Hospital Essen. In addition to the evaluation of the data records submitted so far, 100 cases submitted underwent a second assessment by a board-certified dermatologist to assess concordance. RESULTS: A total of 1364 cases (60.4% men, 39.6% women) were included in the current first external scientific evaluation. In 90.3% of the cases, remote diagnosis was possible. The two most frequent diagnoses were different forms of eczema (n = 270) and nevi (n = 163). Almost two thirds of the patients (64.3%) could be treated teledermatologically only. The random second examination of 100 cases resulted in an agreement of the diagnosis including the differential diagnosis/diagnoses in 97% of the cases. CONCLUSIONS: The first external scientific evaluation of the teledermatological model project Online Dermatologist-AppDoc indicates that the reduction of spatial and temporal barriers of a dermatological examination as well as the teledermatological triage have been so far successful.


Subject(s)
Dermatology , Skin Diseases , Skin Neoplasms , Telemedicine , Dermatologists , Female , Germany , Humans , Male , Skin Diseases/diagnosis , Skin Diseases/therapy
11.
Infection ; 48(4): 619-626, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-597401

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide causing a global health emergency. Pa-COVID-19 aims to provide comprehensive data on clinical course, pathophysiology, immunology and outcome of COVID-19, to identify prognostic biomarkers, clinical scores, and therapeutic targets for improved clinical management and preventive interventions. METHODS: Pa-COVID-19 is a prospective observational cohort study of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection treated at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. We collect data on epidemiology, demography, medical history, symptoms, clinical course, and pathogen testing and treatment. Systematic, serial blood sampling will allow deep molecular and immunological phenotyping, transcriptomic profiling, and comprehensive biobanking. Longitudinal data and sample collection during hospitalization will be supplemented by long-term follow-up. RESULTS: Outcome measures include the WHO clinical ordinal scale on day 15 and clinical, functional, and health-related quality-of-life assessments at discharge and during follow-up. We developed a scalable dataset to (i) suit national standards of care, (ii) facilitate comprehensive data collection in medical care facilities with varying resources, and (iii) allow for rapid implementation of interventional trials based on the standardized study design and data collection. We propose this scalable protocol as blueprint for harmonized data collection and deep phenotyping in COVID-19 in Germany. CONCLUSION: We established a basic platform for harmonized, scalable data collection, pathophysiological analysis, and deep phenotyping of COVID-19, which enables rapid generation of evidence for improved medical care and identification of candidate therapeutic and preventive strategies. The electronic database accredited for interventional trials allows fast trial implementation for candidate therapeutic agents. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registered at the German registry for clinical studies (DRKS00021688).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Registries , Berlin/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , Biological Specimen Banks , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Management , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , Pandemics , Phenotype , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , World Health Organization
12.
Cell Syst ; 11(1): 11-24.e4, 2020 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-459007

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge, and point-of-care diagnostic classifiers are urgently required. Here, we present a platform for ultra-high-throughput serum and plasma proteomics that builds on ISO13485 standardization to facilitate simple implementation in regulated clinical laboratories. Our low-cost workflow handles up to 180 samples per day, enables high precision quantification, and reduces batch effects for large-scale and longitudinal studies. We use our platform on samples collected from a cohort of early hospitalized cases of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and identify 27 potential biomarkers that are differentially expressed depending on the WHO severity grade of COVID-19. They include complement factors, the coagulation system, inflammation modulators, and pro-inflammatory factors upstream and downstream of interleukin 6. All protocols and software for implementing our approach are freely available. In total, this work supports the development of routine proteomic assays to aid clinical decision making and generate hypotheses about potential COVID-19 therapeutic targets.


Subject(s)
Blood Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Proteomics/methods , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Biomarkers/blood , Blood Proteins/analysis , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/classification , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/classification , Pneumonia, Viral/classification , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
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