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Am J Hematol ; 97(2): E75-E78, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565162
J Hosp Infect ; 115: 51-58, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379144


BACKGROUND: Occurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is reduced by effective risk management procedures, but patient-to-patient transmission continues to be reported in healthcare settings. AIM: To report the use of phylogenetic analysis in the clinical risk management of an HCV outbreak among 128 thalassaemia outpatients followed at a thalassaemia centre of an Italian hospital. METHODS: Epidemiological investigation and root-cause analysis were performed. All patients with acute hepatitis and known chronic infection were tested for HCV RNA, HCV genotyping, and NS3, NS5A, and NS5B HCV genomic region sequencing. To identify transmission clusters, phylogenetic trees were built for each gene employing Bayesian methods. FINDINGS: All patients with acute hepatitis were infected with HCV genotype 1b. Root-cause analysis, including a lookback procedure, excluded blood donors as the source of HCV transmission. The phylogenetic analysis, conducted on seven patients with acute infection and eight patients with chronic infection, highlighted four transmission clusters including at least one patient with chronic and one patient with acute HCV infection. All patients in the same cluster received a blood transfusion during the same day. Two patients with acute hepatitis spontaneously cleared HCV within four weeks and nine patients received ledipasvir plus sofosbuvir for six weeks, all achieving a sustained virological response. CONCLUSION: Combined use of root-cause analysis and molecular epidemiology was effective in ascertaining the origin of the HCV outbreak. Antiviral therapy avoided the chronic progression of the infection and further spread in care units and in the family environment.

Hepatitis C , Thalassemia , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Bayes Theorem , Disease Outbreaks , Genotype , Hepacivirus/genetics , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Phylogeny , Risk Management , Thalassemia/complications , Thalassemia/epidemiology , Thalassemia/therapy
Med Sci Monit Basic Res ; 27: e929207, 2021 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1006822


As of November 25, 2020, over 60 million people have been infected worldwide by COVID-19, causing almost 1.43 million deaths. Puzzling low incidence numbers and milder, non-fatal disease have been observed in Thailand and its Southeast (SE) Asian neighbors. Elusive genetic mechanisms might be operative, as a multitude of genetic factors are widely shared between the SE Asian populations, such as the more than 60 different thalassemia syndromes (principally dominated by the HbE trait). In this study, we have plotted COVID-19 infection and death rates in SE Asian (SEA) countries against heterozygote HbE and thalassemia carrier prevalence. COVID-19 infection and death incidence numbers appear inversely correlated with the prevalence of HbE and thalassemia heterozygote populations. We posit that the evolutionary protective effect of the HbE and other thalassemic variants against malaria and the dengue virus may extend its advantage to resistance to COVID-19 infection, as HbE heterozygote population prevalence appears to be positively correlated with immunity to COVID-19. Host immune system modulations induce antiviral interferon responses and alter structural protein integrity, thereby inhibiting cellular access and viral replication. These changes are possibly engendered by HbE carrier miRNAs. Proving this hypothesis is important, as it may shed light on the mechanism of viral resistance and lead to novel antiviral treatments. This development can thus guide decision-making and action to prevent COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Resistance/genetics , Disease Susceptibility , Hemoglobin E/genetics , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Dengue/genetics , Heterozygote , Humans , Immune System , Interferons , Malaria/genetics , Pandemics , Prevalence , Thailand/epidemiology , Thalassemia/epidemiology , Thalassemia/genetics
Acta Biomed ; 91(3): e2020026, 2020 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-761241


A review of the literature on COVID-19 pandemic in patients with thalassemias is presented. Globally, the prevalence of COVID-19 among  ß-thalassemia patients seems to be lower than in general population; associated co-morbidities aggravated the severity of  COVID- 19, leading to a poorer prognosis, irrespective of age. A multicenter registry will enhance the understanding of COVID-19 in these patients and will lead to more evidence-based management recommendations.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Thalassemia/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Global Health , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2