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biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.10.10.511620


While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact public health worldwide significantly, the use of antiviral drugs and therapies has dramatically reduced the instances of severe disease and death. More broadly, the unprecedented use of antivirals also provides hope for preventing and mitigating similar viral outbreaks in the future. Here we ask: What are the comparative impact of antiviral therapeutics targeting different stages of the viral lifecycle? How do antiviral therapeutics impact the viral population in the bloodstream, or in other words, the viral load in high and low-immunity individuals? To address these questions, we use a model of viral quasispecies dynamics to examine the efficacy of antiviral strategies targeting three critical aspects of the viral life cycle, fecundity, reproduction rate, or infection rate. We find a linear relationship of the viral load with the change in fecundity and a power law with the change in the reproduction rate of the virus, with the viral load decreasing as the fecundity and the reproduction rates are decreased. Interestingly, however, for antivirals that target the infection rate, the viral load changes non-monotonically with the change in infection rate; the viral population initially increases and then decreases as the infection rate is decreased. The initial increase is especially pronounced for individuals with low immunity. By examining the viral population inside cells for such cases, we found that the therapeutics are only effective in such individuals if they stop the infection process entirely. Otherwise, the viral population inside cells does not go extinct. Our results predict the effectiveness of different antiviral strategies for COVID-19 and similar viral diseases and provide insights into the susceptibility of individuals with low immunity to effects like long covid.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.07.06.21259982


Objectives: To determine whether early oral or parenteral corticosteroids compared to no corticosteroids are associated with decreased mortality in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who are not on intensive respiratory support (IRS) within 48 hours of admission. Design: Observational cohort study Setting: Nationwide cohort of patients receiving care in the Department of Veterans Affairs, a large integrated US national healthcare system Participants: 9,058 patients admitted to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center between June 7, 2020-December 5, 2020 within 14-days after SARS-CoV-2 positive test; exclusion criteria include less than a 48 hour stay, receipt of prior systemic corticosteroids, and no indication of acute medical care for COVID-19. Main outcome measure: 90-day all-cause mortality Results: Of 9,058 total patients (95% men, median age 71 years, 27% black), 6,825 (75%) were not on IRS within 48 hours. Among the 3,025 patients on no oxygen, 598 (20%) received corticosteroids and 283 (9%) died; of 3,800 patients on low-flow nasal cannula oxygen (NC), 2,808 (74%) received corticosteroids and 514 (13%) died. In stratified, inverse probability weighted Cox proportional hazards models comparing those who did and did not receive corticosteroids, patients on no oxygen experienced an 89% increased risk for 90-day mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.33 to 2.68); there was weak evidence of increased mortality among patients on NC (HR 1.21, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.57). Results were robust in subgroup analyses including restricting corticosteroids to dexamethasone, and in sensitivity analyses employing different modeling approaches. Conclusions: In patients hospitalized with COVID-19, we found no evidence of a mortality benefit associated with early initiation of corticosteroids among those on no oxygen or NC in the first 48 hours, though there was evidence of potential harm. These real-world findings support that clinicians should consider withholding corticosteroids in these populations and further clinical trials may be warranted.

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