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1.
Autoimmun Rev ; 20(8): 102865, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263223

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The novel SARS-CoV-2 has been rattling the world since its outbreak in December 2019, leading to the COVID-19 pandemic. The learning curve of this new virus has been steep, with a global scientific community desperate to learn how the virus is transmitted, how it replicates, why it causes such a wide spectrum of disease manifestations, resulting in none or few symptoms in some. Others are burdened by an intense immune response that resembles the cytokine storm syndrome (CSS), which leads to severe disease manifestations, often complicated by fatal acute respiratory distress syndrome and death. Research efforts have been focusing on finding effective cures and vaccinations for this virus. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, represented by several GI manifestations, has led to its investigation as a target for the virus and as an indicator of disease severity. The response of the microbiome (which is heavily linked to immunity) to the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, and its role in igniting the exaggerated immune response has therefore become a focus of interest. The objective of our study was to gather the data connecting between the microbiome, the GI tract and COVID-19 and to investigate whether these reported alterations in the gut microbiome bear any resemblance to those seen in lupus, the prototypical autoimmune disease. Confirming such changes may become the steppingstone to potential therapies that may prevent transmission, progression and immune related manifestations of COVID-19, via manipulation of the gut microbiota. METHODS: We performed an extensive literature review, utilizing the Pubmed search engine and Google Scholar for studies evaluating the microbiome in COVID-19 patients and compared results with studies evaluating the microbiome in lupus. We searched for the terms: microbiome, dysbiosis, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, gastrointestinal as well as lupus and autoimmune. While there were hundreds of articles which referred to gastrointestinal manifestations in COVID-19, to date only 4 studies investigated the gastrointestinal microbiome in this setting. We compared the similarities between microbiome of COVID-19 patients and lupus patients. RESULTS: We found that there are several similar processes of immune dysregulation in patients with COVID-19 and in those with lupus, with several other alterations seen in other pathological states. Some of these similarities include loss of microbiota biodiversity, increased representation of pathobionts, which are microbes associated with inflammation and disease (i.e Proteobacteria) and a relative decrease of symbionts, which are protective microbes, associated with anti-inflammatory properties (i.e Lactobacillus). Compromise to the intestinal barrier has also been reported in both. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the gastrointestinal tract contributes to the disease manifestations in COVID-19. Whether gastrointestinal dysbiosis is the cause or effect of gastrointestinal manifestations and several severe systemic manifestations, which may be the response to an increased pro-inflammatory environment, is still debatable and warrants further investigation. Given the resemblance of the microbiome in COVID-19 patients to that seen in lupus patients, it becomes clearer why several therapies used in autoimmune conditions are currently under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Moreover, these findings should promote further investigating the utility of manipulation of the microbiome, via nutritional supplementation or even fecal transplantations, interventions that may alter the course of the disease, and potentially prevent disease transmission at low cost and low risk.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Autoimmunity , Dysbiosis , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Front Pediatr ; 9: 613292, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201756

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to a range of emergency measures worldwide. Early in the pandemic, children were suspected to act as drivers of the COVID-19 spread in the population, which was based on experiences with influenza virus and other respiratory pathogens. Consequently, closures of schools and kindergartens were implemented in many countries around the world, alongside with other non-pharmaceutical interventions for transmission control. Given the grave and multifaceted consequences of contact restriction measures for children, it is crucial to better understand the effect size of these incisive actions for the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we systematically review the current evidence on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to and by children. Data Sources: PubMed and preprints uploaded on medRxiv. Study Selection: Original research articles, case reports, brief communications, and commentaries were included into the analysis. Each title or abstract was independently reviewed to identify relevant articles. Studies in other languages than English were not included. Data Extraction: Two reviewers independently reviewed the selected studies. Extracted data included citation of each study, type of healthcare setting, location of the study, characteristics of patient population, and reported outcomes. Results: Data on transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on or by children is scarce. Several studies show a lower seropositivity of children compared to adults, suggesting a lower susceptibility of especially younger children. Most insight currently comes from household studies suggesting, that children are predominantly infected by their household contacts. The contagiousness however, seems to be comparable between children and adults, based on our meta-analysis of included studies. Conclusions: Larger and systematic studies are urgently needed to better understand the age dependent patterns of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and thereby design more effective non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce disease transmission.

3.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(4): 1032-1038, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085129

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has severely impacted the meat processing industry in the United States. We sought to detail demographics and outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections among workers in Nebraska meat processing facilities and determine the effects of initiating universal mask policies and installing physical barriers at 13 meat processing facilities. During April 1-July 31, 2020, COVID-19 was diagnosed in 5,002 Nebraska meat processing workers (attack rate 19%). After initiating both universal masking and physical barrier interventions, 8/13 facilities showed a statistically significant reduction in COVID-19 incidence in <10 days. Characteristics and incidence of confirmed cases aligned with many nationwide trends becoming apparent during this pandemic: specifically, high attack rates among meat processing industry workers, disproportionately high risk of adverse outcomes among ethnic and racial minority groups and men, and effectiveness of using multiple prevention and control interventions to reduce disease transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Food-Processing Industry , Infection Control , Meat-Packing Industry , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Food-Processing Industry/methods , Food-Processing Industry/organization & administration , Food-Processing Industry/trends , Humans , Incidence , Infection Control/instrumentation , Infection Control/methods , Infection Control/organization & administration , Male , Meat-Packing Industry/methods , Meat-Packing Industry/organization & administration , Meat-Packing Industry/trends , Minority Health/statistics & numerical data , Nebraska/epidemiology , Occupational Health/standards , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Workplace/standards
4.
Sci Data ; 7(1): 286, 2020 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733507

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked unprecedented public health and social measures (PHSM) by national and local governments, including border restrictions, school closures, mandatory facemask use and stay at home orders. Quantifying the effectiveness of these interventions in reducing disease transmission is key to rational policy making in response to the current and future pandemics. In order to estimate the effectiveness of these interventions, detailed descriptions of their timelines, scale and scope are needed. The Health Intervention Tracking for COVID-19 (HIT-COVID) is a curated and standardized global database that catalogues the implementation and relaxation of COVID-19 related PHSM. With a team of over 200 volunteer contributors, we assembled policy timelines for a range of key PHSM aimed at reducing COVID-19 risk for the national and first administrative levels (e.g. provinces and states) globally, including details such as the degree of implementation and targeted populations. We continue to maintain and adapt this database to the changing COVID-19 landscape so it can serve as a resource for researchers and policymakers alike.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control/methods , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Databases, Factual , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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