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Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis ; 12(1): e2020046, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792270


OBJECTIVES: This study aims to investigate, retrospectively, the epidemiological and clinical characteristics, laboratory results, radiologic findings, and outcomes of COVID-19 in patients with transfusion-dependent ß thalassemia major (TM), ß-thalassemia intermedia (TI) and sickle cell disease (SCD). DESIGN: A total of 17 Centers, from 10 countries, following 9,499 patients with hemoglobinopathies, participated in the survey. MAIN OUTCOME DATA: Clinical, laboratory, and radiologic findings and outcomes of patients with COVID-19 were collected from medical records and summarized. RESULTS: A total of 13 patients, 7 with TM, 3 with TI, and 3 with SCD, with confirmed COVID-19, were identified in 6 Centers from different countries. The overall mean age of patients was 33.7±12.3 years (range:13-66); 9/13 (69.2%) patients were females. Six patients had pneumonia, and 4 needed oxygen therapy. Increased C-reactive protein (6/10), high serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; 6/10), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR; 6/10) were the most common laboratory findings. 6/10 patients had an exacerbation of anemia (2 with SCD). In the majority of patients, the course of COVID-19 was moderate (6/10) and severe in 3/10 patients. A 30-year-old female with TM, developed a critical SARS-CoV-2 infection, followed by death in an Intensive Care Unit. In one Center (Oman), the majority of suspected cases were observed in patients with SCD between the age of 21 and 40 years. A rapid clinical improvement of tachypnea/dyspnea and oxygen saturation was observed, after red blood cell exchange transfusion, in a young girl with SCD and worsening of anemia (Hb level from 9.2 g/dl to 6.1g/dl). CONCLUSIONS: The data presented in this survey permit an early assessment of the clinical characteristics of COVID 19 in different countries. 70% of symptomatic patients with COVID- 19 required hospitalization. The presence of associated co-morbidities can aggravate the severity of COVID- 19, leading to a poorer prognosis irrespective of age.

Orphanet J Rare Dis ; 16(1): 114, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1112440


BACKGROUND: Hydroxyurea is one of the earliest drugs that showed promise in the management of haemoglobinopathies that include ß-thalassaemia and sickle cell disease. Despite this, many aspects of hydroxyurea are either unknown or understudied; specifically, its usefulness in ß-thalassaemia major and haemoglobin E ß-thalassaemia is unclear. However, during COVID-19 pandemic, it has become a valuable adjunct to transfusion therapy in patients with ß-haemoglobinopathies. In this review, we aim to explore the available in vitro and in vivo mechanistic data and the clinical utility of hydroxyurea in ß-haemoglobinopathies with a special emphasis on its usefulness during the COVID-19 pandemic. MAIN BODY: Hydroxyurea is an S-phase-specific drug that reversibly inhibits ribonucleoside diphosphate reductase enzyme which catalyses an essential step in the DNA biosynthesis. In human erythroid cells, it induces the expression of γ-globin, a fetal globin gene that is suppressed after birth. Through several molecular pathways described in this review, hydroxyurea exerts many favourable effects on the haemoglobin content, red blood cell indices, ineffective erythropoiesis, and blood rheology in patients with ß-haemoglobinopathies. Currently, it is recommended for sickle cell disease and non-transfusion dependent ß-thalassaemia. A number of clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate its usefulness in transfusion dependent ß-thalassaemia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was widely used as an adjunct to transfusion therapy due to limitations in the availability of blood and logistical disturbances. Thus, it has become clear that hydroxyurea could play a remarkable role in reducing transfusion requirements of patients with haemoglobinopathies, especially when donor blood is a limited resource. CONCLUSION: Hydroxyurea is a well-tolerated oral drug which has been in use for many decades. Through its actions of reversible inhibition of ribonucleoside diphosphate reductase enzyme and fetal haemoglobin induction, it exerts many favourable effects on patients with ß-haemoglobinopathies. It is currently approved for the treatment of sickle cell disease and non-transfusion dependent ß-thalassaemia. Also, there are various observations to suggest that hydroxyurea is an important adjunct in the treatment of transfusion dependent ß-thalassaemia which should be confirmed by randomised clinical trials.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Hemoglobinopathies/drug therapy , Hydroxyurea/therapeutic use , Bloodless Medical and Surgical Procedures , Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Humans , Ribonucleoside Diphosphate Reductase/antagonists & inhibitors