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1.
J Xenobiot ; 11(2): 77-93, 2021 May 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1834825

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, occurring due to SARS-COV-2 infection, is the most recent pandemic disease that has led to three million deaths at the time of writing. A great deal of effort has been directed towards altering the virus trajectory and/or managing the interactions of the virus with its subsequent targets in the human body; these interactions can lead to a chain reaction-like state manifested by a cytokine storm and progress to multiple organ failure. During cytokine storms the ratio of pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory mediators is generally increased, which contributes to the instigation of hyper-inflammation and confers advantages to the virus. Because cytokine expression patterns fluctuate from one person to another and even within the same person from one time to another, we suggest a road map of COVID-19 management using an individual approach instead of focusing on the blockbuster process (one treatment for most people, if not all). Here, we highlight the biology of the virus, study the interaction between the virus and humans, and present potential pharmacological and non-pharmacological modulators that might contribute to the global war against SARS-COV-2. We suggest an algorithmic roadmap to manage COVID-19.

2.
Viruses ; 12(5)2020 04 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726007

ABSTRACT

In January 2020, Chinese health agencies reported an outbreak of a novel coronavirus-2 (CoV-2) which can lead to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The virus, which belongs to the coronavirus family (SARS-CoV-2), was named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Full-length genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 showed 79.6% sequence identity to SARS-CoV, with 96% identity to a bat coronavirus at the whole-genome level. COVID-19 has caused over 133,000 deaths and there are over 2 million total confirmed cases as of April 15th, 2020. Current treatment plans are still under investigation due to a lack of understanding of COVID-19. One potential mechanism to slow disease progression is the use of antiviral drugs to either block the entry of the virus or interfere with viral replication and maturation. Currently, antiviral drugs, including chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and lopinavir/ritonavir, have shown effective inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Due to the high dose needed and narrow therapeutic window, many patients are experiencing severe side effects with the above drugs. Hence, repurposing these drugs with a proper formulation is needed to improve the safety and efficacy for COVID-19 treatment. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a family of natural carriers in the human body. They play a critical role in cell-to-cell communications. EVs can be used as unique drug carriers to deliver protease inhibitors to treat COVID-19. EVs may provide targeted delivery of protease inhibitors, with fewer systemic side effects. More importantly, EVs are eligible for major aseptic processing and can be upscaled for mass production. Currently, the FDA is facilitating applications to treat COVID-19, which provides a very good chance to use EVs to contribute in this combat.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Extracellular Vesicles/chemistry , HIV Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Drug Approval , Drug Delivery Systems , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Transplantation ; 106(3): 641-647, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703842

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Heart transplant (HT) recipients may be at higher risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection and developing critical illness. The aim of this study is to describe characteristics and outcomes of HT recipients infected by SARS-COV-2, from a high-volume transplant center. METHODS: We have described data of all adult HT recipients with confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 by RT-PCR in nasopharyngeal samples from April 5, 2020, to January 5, 2021. Outcomes and follow-up were recorded until February 5, 2021. RESULTS: Forty patients were included. Twenty-four patients (60%) were men; the median age was 53 (40-60) y old; median HT time was 34 mo; and median follow-up time 162 d. The majority needed hospitalization (83%). Immunosuppressive therapy was reduced/withdrawn in the majority of patients, except from steroids, which were maintained. Seventeen patients (42.5%) were classified as having severe disease according to the ordinal scale developed by the World Health Organization Committee. They tended to have lower absolute lymphocyte count (P < 0.001) during follow-up when compared with patients with mild disease. Thirty-day mortality was 12.5%. However, a longer follow-up revealed increased later mortality (27.5%), with median time to death around 35 d. Bacterial nosocomial infections were a leading cause of death. Cardiac allograft rejection (10%) and ventricular dysfunction (12.5%) were also not negligible. CONCLUSIONS: Major findings of this study corroborate other cohorts' results, but it also reports significant rate of later events, suggesting that a strict midterm surveillance is advisable to HT recipients with coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Heart Transplantation , Adult , Heart Transplantation/adverse effects , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Transplant Recipients
4.
Eur J Public Health ; 31(3): 630-634, 2021 07 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1665968

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People from South Asian and black minority ethnic groups are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unknown whether deprivation mediates this excess ethnic risk. METHODS: We used UK Biobank with linked COVID-19 outcomes occurring between 16th March 2020 and 24th August 2020. A four-way decomposition mediation analysis was used to model the extent to which the excess risk of testing positive, severe disease and mortality for COVID-19 in South Asian and black individuals, relative to white individuals, would be eliminated if levels of high material deprivation were reduced within the population. RESULTS: We included 15 044 (53.0% women) South Asian and black and 392 786 (55.2% women) white individuals. There were 151 (1.0%) positive tests, 91 (0.6%) severe cases and 31 (0.2%) deaths due to COVID-19 in South Asian and black individuals compared with 1471 (0.4%), 895 (0.2%) and 313 (0.1%), respectively, in white individuals. Compared with white individuals, the relative risk of testing positive for COVID-19, developing severe disease and COVID-19 mortality in South Asian and black individuals were 2.73 (95% CI: 2.26, 3.19), 2.96 (2.31, 3.61) and 4.04 (2.54, 5.55), respectively. A hypothetical intervention moving the 25% most deprived in the population out of deprivation was modelled to eliminate between 40 and 50% of the excess risk of all COVID-19 outcomes in South Asian and black populations, whereas moving the 50% most deprived out of deprivation would eliminate over 80% of the excess risk of COVID-19 outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The excess risk of COVID-19 outcomes in South Asian and black communities could be substantially reduced with population level policies targeting material deprivation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Male , Minority Groups , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Ghana Med J ; 54(4 Suppl): 52-61, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436195

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Since the declaration of COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic on 11th March 2020, the number of deaths continue to increase worldwide. Reports on its pathologic manifestations have been published with very few from the Sub-Saharan African region. This article reports autopsies on COVID-19 patients from the Ga-East and the 37 Military Hospitals to provide pathological evidence for better understanding of COVID-19 in Ghana. METHODS: Under conditions required for carrying out autopsies on bodies infected with category three infectious agents, with few modifications, complete autopsies were performed on twenty patients with ante-mortem and/or postmortem RT -PCR confirmed positive COVID-19 results, between April and June, 2020. RESULTS: There were equal proportion of males and females. Thirteen (65%) of the patients were 55years or older with the same percentage (65%) having Type II diabetes and/or hypertension. The most significant pathological feature found at autopsy was diffuse alveolar damage. Seventy per cent (14/20) had associated thromboemboli in the lungs, kidneys and the heart. Forty per cent (6/15) of the patients that had negative results for COVID-19 by the nasopharyngeal swab test before death had positive results during postmortem using bronchopulmonary specimen. At autopsy all patients were identified to have pre-existing medical conditions. CONCLUSION: Diffuse alveolar damage was a key pathological feature of deaths caused by COVID-19 in all cases studied with hypertension and diabetes mellitus being major risk factors. Individuals without co-morbidities were less likely to die or suffer severe disease from SARS-CoV-2. FUNDING: None declared.


Subject(s)
Autopsy/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/pathology , Hospitals, Military/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals, Municipal/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 Testing/statistics & numerical data , Comorbidity , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/mortality , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/virology , Female , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Hypertension/mortality , Hypertension/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/virology , Risk Factors
6.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(8): 909-923, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411740

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Previous studies suggested that the prevalence of chronic respiratory disease in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 was lower than its prevalence in the general population. The aim of this study was to assess whether chronic lung disease or use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) affects the risk of contracting severe COVID-19. METHODS: In this population cohort study, records from 1205 general practices in England that contribute to the QResearch database were linked to Public Health England's database of SARS-CoV-2 testing and English hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and deaths for COVID-19. All patients aged 20 years and older who were registered with one of the 1205 general practices on Jan 24, 2020, were included in this study. With Cox regression, we examined the risks of COVID-19-related hospitalisation, admission to ICU, and death in relation to respiratory disease and use of ICS, adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic status and comorbidities associated with severe COVID-19. FINDINGS: Between Jan 24 and April 30, 2020, 8 256 161 people were included in the cohort and observed, of whom 14 479 (0·2%) were admitted to hospital with COVID-19, 1542 (<0·1%) were admitted to ICU, and 5956 (0·1%) died. People with some respiratory diseases were at an increased risk of hospitalisation (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] hazard ratio [HR] 1·54 [95% CI 1·45-1·63], asthma 1·18 [1·13-1·24], severe asthma 1·29 [1·22-1·37; people on three or more current asthma medications], bronchiectasis 1·34 [1·20-1·50], sarcoidosis 1·36 [1·10-1·68], extrinsic allergic alveolitis 1·35 [0·82-2·21], idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis 1·59 [1·30-1·95], other interstitial lung disease 1·66 [1·30-2·12], and lung cancer 2·24 [1·89-2·65]) and death (COPD 1·54 [1·42-1·67], asthma 0·99 [0·91-1·07], severe asthma 1·08 [0·98-1·19], bronchiectasis 1·12 [0·94-1·33], sarcoidosis 1·41 [0·99-1·99), extrinsic allergic alveolitis 1·56 [0·78-3·13], idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis 1·47 [1·12-1·92], other interstitial lung disease 2·05 [1·49-2·81], and lung cancer 1·77 [1·37-2·29]) due to COVID-19 compared with those without these diseases. Admission to ICU was rare, but the HR for people with asthma was 1·08 (0·93-1·25) and severe asthma was 1·30 (1·08-1·58). In a post-hoc analysis, relative risks of severe COVID-19 in people with respiratory disease were similar before and after shielding was introduced on March 23, 2020. In another post-hoc analysis, people with two or more prescriptions for ICS in the 150 days before study start were at a slightly higher risk of severe COVID-19 compared with all other individuals (ie, no or one ICS prescription): HR 1·13 (1·03-1·23) for hospitalisation, 1·63 (1·18-2·24) for ICU admission, and 1·15 (1·01-1·31) for death. INTERPRETATION: The risk of severe COVID-19 in people with asthma is relatively small. People with COPD and interstitial lung disease appear to have a modestly increased risk of severe disease, but their risk of death from COVID-19 at the height of the epidemic was mostly far lower than the ordinary risk of death from any cause. Use of inhaled steroids might be associated with a modestly increased risk of severe COVID-19. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the Wellcome Trust.


Subject(s)
Adrenal Cortex Hormones , COVID-19 , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive , Administration, Inhalation , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/administration & dosage , Adrenal Cortex Hormones/adverse effects , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19 Testing , Comorbidity , England/epidemiology , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/diagnosis , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/drug therapy , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/epidemiology , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Social Class
7.
Kardiol Pol ; 79(7-8): 773-780, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1399787

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) recently became one of the leading causes of death worldwide, similar to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Coexisting CVD may influence the prognosis of patients with COVID-19. AIMS: We analyzed the impact of CVD and the use of cardiovascular drugs on the in-hospital course and mortality of patients with COVID-19. METHODS: We retrospectively studied data for consecutive patients admitted to our hospital, with COVID-19 between March 6th and October 15th, 2020. RESULTS: 1729 patients (median interquartile range age 63 [50-75] years; women 48.8%) were included. Overall, in-hospital mortality was 12.9%. The most prevalent CVD was arterial hypertension (56.1%), followed by hyperlipidemia (27.4%), diabetes mellitus (DM) (25.7%), coronary artery disease (16.8%), heart failure (HF) (10.3%), atrial fibrillation (13.5%), and stroke (8%). Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ACEIs/ARBs) were used in 25.0% of patients, ß-blockers in 40.7%, statins in 15.6%, and antiplatelet therapy in 19.9%. Age over 65 years (odds ratio [OR], 6.4; 95% CI, 4.3-9.6), male sex (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0), pre-existing DM (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.1), and HF (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5-3.5) were independent predictors of in-hospital death, whereas treatment with ACEIs/ARBs (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.3-0.6), ß-blockers (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9), statins (OR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-0.8), or antiplatelet therapy (OR, 0.6; 95% CI: 0.4-0.9) was associated with lower risk of death. CONCLUSIONS: Among cardiovascular risk factors and diseases, HF and DM appeared to increase in-hospital COVID-19 mortality, whereas the use of cardiovascular drugs was associated with lower mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cardiovascular Agents , Cardiovascular Diseases , Hypertension , Aged , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors , Cardiovascular Diseases/drug therapy , Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology , Female , Hospital Mortality , Hospitals , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Poland/epidemiology , Registries , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Biomolecules ; 11(5)2021 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334991

ABSTRACT

The vascular endothelium acts as a selective barrier to regulate macromolecule exchange between the blood and tissues. However, the integrity of the endothelium barrier is compromised in an array of pathological settings, including ischemic disease and cancer, which are the leading causes of death worldwide. The resulting vascular hyperpermeability to plasma molecules as well as leukocytes then leads to tissue damaging edema formation and inflammation. The vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is a potent permeability factor, and therefore a desirable target for impeding vascular hyperpermeability. However, VEGFA also promotes angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, which is required for reperfusion of ischemic tissues. Moreover, edema increases interstitial pressure in poorly perfused tumors, thereby affecting the delivery of therapeutics, which could be counteracted by stimulating the growth of new functional blood vessels. Thus, targets must be identified to accurately modulate the barrier function of blood vessels without affecting angiogenesis, as well as to develop more effective pro- or anti-angiogenic therapies. Recent studies have shown that the VEGFA co-receptor neuropilin 1 (NRP1) could be playing a fundamental role in steering VEGFA-induced responses of vascular endothelial cells towards angiogenesis or vascular permeability. Moreover, NRP1 is involved in mediating permeability signals induced by ligands other than VEGFA. This review therefore focuses on current knowledge on the role of NRP1 in the regulation of vascular permeability signaling in the endothelium to provide an up-to-date landscape of the current knowledge in this field.


Subject(s)
Capillary Permeability , Endothelium, Vascular/metabolism , Neuropilin-1/metabolism , Animals , Gene Expression Regulation , Humans , Signal Transduction , Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A/metabolism
10.
Exp Clin Transplant ; 19(7): 744-748, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323413

ABSTRACT

Acute respiratory distress syndrome remains the main cause of death among people with COVID-19. Although many immunomodulatory and antiviral drug therapies have been tested, the only effective therapy against severe COVID-19 pneumonia among the general population is a regimen of high-dose corticosteroids for cases of severe associated inflammation. In solid-organ transplant recipients with long-term immunosuppression, data on disease presentation and evolution are scarce, and the benefit of high-dose corticosteroids remains uncertain for cases of severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Here, we report 2 cases of COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome that occurred in lung transplant recipients in March and April 2020, respectively. Both cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome occurred in patients with long-term azithromycin treatment prescribed to prevent chronic allograft dysfunction. Acute respiratory distress syndrome was associated with severe inflammation and was cured after early administration of high-dose corticosteroids in both cases, with progressive and complete resolution of lung lesions evidenced on thoracic computed tomography scan. Our findings support the benefit of early high-dose corticosteroids in COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome with hyperinflammation in patients with long-term immunosuppression such as lung transplant recipients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Lung Transplantation , Methylprednisolone/therapeutic use , Postoperative Complications/drug therapy , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/drug therapy , COVID-19/complications , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Postoperative Complications/virology , Remission Induction , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology
11.
PLoS Med ; 18(6): e1003621, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315878

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally, 235 million people are impacted by humanitarian emergencies worldwide, presenting increased risk of experiencing a mental disorder. Our objective was to test the effectiveness of a brief group psychological treatment delivered by trained facilitators without prior professional mental health training in a disaster-prone setting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) from November 25, 2018 through September 30, 2019. Participants in both arms were assessed at baseline, midline (7 weeks post-baseline, which was approximately 1 week after treatment in the experimental arm), and endline (20 weeks post-baseline, which was approximately 3 months posttreatment). The intervention was Group Problem Management Plus (PM+), a psychological treatment of 5 weekly sessions, which was compared with enhanced usual care (EUC) consisting of a family psychoeducation meeting with a referral option to primary care providers trained in mental healthcare. The setting was 72 wards (geographic unit of clustering) in eastern Nepal, with 1 PM+ group per ward in the treatment arm. Wards were eligible if they were in disaster-prone regions and residents spoke Nepali. Wards were assigned to study arms based on covariate constrained randomization. Eligible participants were adult women and men 18 years of age and older who met screening criteria for psychological distress and functional impairment. Outcomes were measured at the participant level, with assessors blinded to group assignment. The primary outcome was psychological distress assessed with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Secondary outcomes included depression symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, "heart-mind" problems, social support, somatic symptoms, and functional impairment. The hypothesized mediator was skill use aligned with the treatment's mechanisms of action. A total of 324 participants were enrolled in the control arm (36 wards) and 319 in the Group PM+ arm (36 wards). The overall sample (N = 611) had a median age of 45 years (range 18-91 years), 82% of participants were female, 50% had recently experienced a natural disaster, and 31% had a chronic physical illness. Endline assessments were completed by 302 participants in the control arm (36 wards) and 303 participants in the Group PM+ arm (36 wards). At the midline assessment (immediately after Group PM+ in the experimental arm), mean GHQ-12 total score was 2.7 units lower in Group PM+ compared to control (95% CI: 1.7, 3.7, p < 0.001), with standardized mean difference (SMD) of -0.4 (95% CI: -0.5, -0.2). At 3 months posttreatment (primary endpoint), mean GHQ-12 total score was 1.4 units lower in Group PM+ compared to control (95% CI: 0.3, 2.5, p = 0.014), with SMD of -0.2 (95% CI: -0.4, 0.0). Among the secondary outcomes, Group PM+ was associated with endline with a larger proportion attaining more than 50% reduction in depression symptoms (29.9% of Group PM+ arm versus 17.3% of control arm, risk ratio = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.4, p = 0.002). Fewer participants in the Group PM+ arm continued to have "heart-mind" problems at endline (58.8%) compared to the control arm (69.4%), risk ratio = 0.8 (95% CI, 0.7, 1.0, p = 0.042). Group PM+ was not associated with lower PTSD symptoms or functional impairment. Use of psychosocial skills at midline was estimated to explain 31% of the PM+ effect on endline GHQ-12 scores. Adverse events in the control arm included 1 suicide death and 1 reportable incidence of domestic violence; in the Group PM+ arm, there was 1 death due to physical illness. Study limitations include lack of power to evaluate gender-specific effects, lack of long-term outcomes (e.g., 12 months posttreatment), and lack of cost-effectiveness information. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that a 5-session group psychological treatment delivered by nonspecialists modestly reduced psychological distress and depression symptoms in a setting prone to humanitarian emergencies. Benefits were partly explained by the degree of psychosocial skill use in daily life. To improve the treatment benefit, future implementation should focus on approaches to enhance skill use by PM+ participants. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03747055.


Subject(s)
Depression/therapy , Mental Health , Natural Disasters , Problem Solving , Psychotherapy, Brief , Psychotherapy, Group , Relief Work , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/therapy , Stress, Psychological/therapy , Adaptation, Psychological , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Depression/diagnosis , Depression/etiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Functional Status , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nepal , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/etiology , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/psychology , Stress, Psychological/diagnosis , Stress, Psychological/etiology , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
12.
Physiol Rep ; 9(11): e14800, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1268434

ABSTRACT

The objective of this review is to give an overview of the pathophysiological effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in relation to hypertension (HT), with a focus on the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) and the MAS receptor. HT is a multifactorial disease and a public health burden, as it is a risk factor for diseases like stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart failure, leading to 10.4 million deaths yearly. Blood pressure is regulated by the RAAS. The system consists of two counter-regulatory axes: ACE/ANG-II/AT1 R and ACE2/ANG-(1-7)/MAS. The main regulatory protein in balancing the RAAS is angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The protein also functions as the main mediator of endocytosis of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into the host cell. SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of COVID-19 and has caused a worldwide pandemic; however, the treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19 are limited. Several drugs and vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials with a few already approved by EMA and FDA. HT is a major risk factor regarding the severity and fatality of COVID-19, and the RAAS plays an important role in COVID-19 infection since SARS-CoV-2 can lead to a dysregulation of the system by reducing the ACE2 expression. The exact mechanisms of HT in relation to COVID-19 remain uncertain, and more research is needed for further elucidation.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , COVID-19/physiopathology , Hypertension/virology , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Hypertension/physiopathology , Pandemics , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
13.
J Biol Regul Homeost Agents ; 35(3): 839-842, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262732

ABSTRACT

Anaphylaxis is a severe multisystem reaction that occurs rapidly after the introduction of an antigen that would otherwise be a harmless substance. It is characterized by airway and respiratory problems, cardiovascular collapse, mucosal inflammation, and other complications, all severe symptoms that can cause death. IgE-dependent anaphylaxis involves mast cells (MCs) which are the main sources of biologically active mediators that contribute to the pathological and lethal phenomena that can occur in anaphylaxis. Antibody-mediated anaphylaxis can follow multiple pathways such as that mediated by MCs carrying the FcεRI receptor, which can be activated by very small amounts of antigen including a vaccine antigen and trigger an anaphylactic reaction. In addition, anaphylaxis can also be provoked by high concentrations of IgG antibodies that bind to the FcγR receptor present on basophils, neutrophils, macrophages and MCs. For this reason, the IgG concentration should be kept under control in vaccinations. Activation of MCs is a major cause of anaphylaxis, which requires immediate treatment with epinephrine to arrest severe lethal symptoms. MCs are activated through the antigen binding and cross-linking of IgE with release of mediators such as histamine, proteases, prostaglandins, leukotrienes and inflammatory cytokines. The release of these compounds causes nausea, vomiting, hives, wheezing, flushing, tachycardia, hypotension, laryngeal edema, and cardiovascular collapse. mRNA and viral vector vaccines have been cleared by the United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generating hope of prevention and cure for COVID-19 around the world. Scientists advise against giving the vaccine to individuals who have had a previous history of anaphylaxis. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people with a previous history of any immediate allergic reaction to remain under observation for approximately 30 minutes after COVID-19 vaccination. To date, vaccines that prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection have not raised major concerns of severe allergic reactions, although, in some cases, pain and redness at the injection site and fever have occurred after administration of the vaccine. These reactions occur in the first 24-48 hours after vaccination. It has been reported that probable forms of anaphylaxis could also occur, especially in women approximately 40 years of age. But after tens of millions of vaccinations, only a few patients had this severe reaction with a low incidence. Anaphylactic and severe allergic reactions can also occur to any component of the vaccine including polysorbates and polyethylene glycol. To date, there is no precise information on allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals with MCs and complement with higher activation than others may be at greater allergic risk. Moreover, the reactions called anaphylactoids, are those not mediated by IgE because they do not involve this antibody and can also occur in COVID-19 vaccination. These not-IgE-mediated reactions occur through direct activation of MCs and complement with tryptase production, but to a lesser extent than IgE-mediated anaphylaxis. However, at the moment it is not known exactly which component of the vaccine causes the allergic reaction and which vaccine causes the most side effects, including anaphylaxis. Thus, individuals who have a known allergy to any component of the vaccine should not be vaccinated. However, should an anaphylactic reaction occur, this requires immediate treatment with epinephrine to arrest severe lethal symptoms. In conclusion, the purpose of this editorial is to encourage the population to be vaccinated in order to extinguish this global pandemic that is afflicting the world population, and to reassure individuals that anaphylactic reactions do not occur with a higher incidence than other vaccinations.


Subject(s)
Anaphylaxis , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination/adverse effects
14.
United European Gastroenterol J ; 9(7): 787-796, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260575

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has caused almost 2 million deaths worldwide. Both Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency have recently approved the first COVID-19 vaccines, and a few more are going to be approved soon. METHODS: Several different approaches have been used to stimulate the immune system in mounting a humoral response. As more traditional approaches are under investigation (inactivated virus vaccines, protein subunit vaccines, recombinant virus vaccines), more recent and innovative strategies have been tried (non-replicating viral vector vaccines, RNA based vaccines, DNA based vaccines). RESULTS: Since vaccinations campaigns started in December 2020 in both the US and Europe, gastroenterologists will be one of the main sources of information regarding SARS-CoV 2 vaccination for patients in their practice, including vulnerable patients such as those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), patients with chronic liver disease, and GI cancer patients. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, we must ourselves be well educated and updated in order to provide unambiguous counseling to these categories of vulnerable patients. In this commentary, we aim to provide a comprehensive review of both approved COVID-19 vaccines and the ones still under development, and explore potential risks, benefits and prioritization of vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , Ad26COVS1/therapeutic use , BNT162 Vaccine/therapeutic use , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/therapeutic use , Gastroenterology , Gastrointestinal Neoplasms/therapy , Humans , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/therapy , Liver Diseases/therapy , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Sleep Med ; 84: 98-106, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253648

ABSTRACT

Since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic onset, many routine medical activities have been put on hold and this has deeply affected the management of patients with chronic diseases such as obstructive sleep apnea. Untreated OSA is associated with increased mortality and difficulties in social functioning. A delay in initiating treatment may therefore have harmful consequences. Between February and April 2020, the so-called first wave of the pandemic, the overall activity of sleep centers in Europe was reduced by 80%. As the international infection control authorities released guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 outbreak control, many of the national sleep societies provided strategies for a gradual re-opening of sleep facilities. Most of these strategies were not evidences-based and, in a climate of general concern, worldwide it was strongly advised to post-pone any non-urgent sleep-related procedure. Despite the initial idea that the outbreak could be transient, after one year it is still ongoing and the price we are paying, not only includes deaths caused by COVID-19, but also deaths caused by missed or late diagnosis. As further delays in diagnosing and treating patients with sleep apnea are no more acceptable, a new arrangement of sleep facilities and resources, in order to operate safely and effectively, is now mandatory. In this article, we review most recent literature and guidelines in order to provide practical advice for a new arrangement of sleep laboratories and the care of patients with obstructive sleep apnea after one year from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sleep Apnea, Obstructive , Continuity of Patient Care , Continuous Positive Airway Pressure , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sleep Apnea, Obstructive/epidemiology , Sleep Apnea, Obstructive/therapy
16.
Inform Med Unlocked ; 24: 100621, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253043

ABSTRACT

Novel Coronavirus with its highly transmittable characteristics is rapidly spreading, endangering millions of human lives and the global economy. To expel the chain of alteration and subversive expansion, early and effective diagnosis of infected patients is immensely important. Unfortunately, there is a lack of testing equipment in many countries as compared with the number of infected patients. It would be desirable to have a swift diagnosis with identification of COVID-19 from disease genes or from CT or X-Ray images. COVID-19 causes flus, cough, pneumonia, and lung infection in patients, wherein massive alveolar damage and progressive respiratory failure can lead to death. This paper proposes two different detection methods - the first is a Gene-based screening method to detect Corona diseases (Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, and Human coronavirus HKU1) and differentiate it from Pneumonia. This novel approach to healthcare utilizes disease genes to build functional semantic similarity among genes. Different machine learning algorithms - eXtreme Gradient Boosting, Naïve Bayes, Regularized Random Forest, Random Forest Rule-Based Model, Random Ferns, C5.0 and Multi-Layer Perceptron, are trained and tested on the semantic similarities to classify Corona and Pneumonia diseases. The best performing models are then ensembled, yielding an accuracy of nearly 93%. The second diagnosis technique proposed herein is an automated COVID-19 diagnostic method which uses chest X-ray images to classify Normal versus COVID-19 and Pneumonia versus COVID-19 images using the deep-CNN technique, achieving 99.87% and 99.48% test accuracy. Thus, this research can be an assistance for providing better treatment against COVID-19.

17.
Popul Health Metr ; 19(1): 27, 2021 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249558

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The number of deaths attributable to COVID-19 in Spain has been highly controversial since it is problematic to tell apart deaths having COVID as the main cause from those provoked by the aggravation by the viral infection of other underlying health problems. In addition, overburdening of health system led to an increase in mortality due to the scarcity of adequate medical care, at the same time confinement measures could have contributed to the decrease in mortality from certain causes. Our aim is to compare the number of deaths observed in 2020 with the projection for the same period obtained from a sequence of previous years. Thus, this computed mortality excess could be considered as the real impact of the COVID-19 on the mortality rates. METHODS: The population was split into four age groups, namely: (< 50; 50-64; 65-74; 75 and over). For each one, a projection of the death numbers for the year 2020, based on the interval 2008-2020, was estimated using a Bayesian spatio-temporal model. In each one, spatial, sex, and year effects were included. In addition, a specific effect of the year 2020 was added ("outbreak"). Finally, the excess deaths in year 2020 were estimated as the count of observed deaths minus those projected. RESULTS: The projected death number for 2020 was 426,970 people, the actual count being 499,104; thus, the total excess of deaths was 72,134. However, this increase was very unequally distributed over the Spanish regions. CONCLUSION: Bayesian spatio-temporal models have proved to be a useful tool for estimating the impact of COVID-19 on mortality in Spain in 2020, making it possible to assess how the disease has affected different age groups accounting for effects of sex, spatial variation between regions and time trend over the last few years.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Cause of Death , Pandemics , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bayes Theorem , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Biological , Mortality/trends , SARS-CoV-2 , Spain/epidemiology , Spatio-Temporal Analysis
18.
Ann Glob Health ; 87(1): 44, 2021 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1248344

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) became the deadliest pandemic of the new millennium. One year after it became a pandemic, the current COVID-19 situation in Brazil is an example of how the impacts of a pandemic are beyond health outcomes and how health, social, and political actions are intertwined. Objectives: We aimed to provide an overview of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, from a social and political point of view, and to discuss the perspectives from now on. Methods: This is a narrative review using official, scientific (PubMed, Medline, and SciELO databases) and publicly available data. Press articles were also used that contain important information not found in these databases. Findings: We address the impacts of COVID-19 in different regions of Brazil, on indigenous populations, health care workers, and how internal social contrasts impacted the pandemics advance across the country. We also discuss key points that culminated in the countrys failed management of the COVID-19 spread, such as poor management of the public health care system, disparities between public and private health care infrastructure, lack of mass testing and viral spread tracking, lack of preparedness and planning to implement strict isolation and social distancing measures, and, most importantly, political instability, a deteriorating Health Ministry and sabotaging attitudes of the countrys president, including anti-scientific actions, underplaying COVID-19 severity, spreading and powering fake news about the pandemic, promoting knowingly inefficient medications for COVID-19 treatment, and interference in collective health policies, including the countrys vaccination plan. Conclusions: After one year of COVID-19 and a disastrous management of the disease, Brazil has more than 11 million cases, 270,000 deaths, and the highest number of daily deaths due to COVID-19 in the world, most of which could have been avoided and can be credited to negligence of municipal, state, and federal authorities, especially President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Unfortunately, the country is an example of what not to do in a pandemic setting. Key Points: One year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Brazil had the second higher number of cases and deaths, and the highest number of daily deaths due to the disease. Lack of massive testing, non-stringent and ineffective collective health policies, poor management of the public health care system, and political instability were the main drivers of the countrys flawed management of the COVID-19 advancement. Anti-science and sabotaging actions by government had a pivotal role in the countrys current situation. Brazil has a large territory and is marked by social contrasts among different regions and states, which showed contrasting data regarding the impact caused by COVID-19. COVID-19 databases and data sharing are important to provide an overview of epidemiological aspects of the disease; however, Brazil lacks standardization in these datasets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Politics , Public Health , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Government Regulation , Humans , Needs Assessment , Public Health/standards , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Medicine
19.
J Med Case Rep ; 15(1): 310, 2021 May 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247596

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020. The results of recent studies have suggested that neonates may present symptoms of COVID-19. Although the presentation of the disease in neonates is known to vary, only a limited number of studies have investigated newborns infected with COVID-19. CASE PRESENTATION: This study presents two Asian cases of newborns with COVID-19. Maternal-fetal or postnatal transmission was suggested based on the simultaneity of maternal infection. Chest radiography in one of the neonates showed severe lung involvement. Despite support and resuscitation attempts, the poor clinical condition of the neonate led to his death. However, the two mothers and one of the neonates were discharged from the hospital in good general condition. CONCLUSION: The neonates had worse clinical conditions than the mothers, and the intensity of pneumonia and level of lung involvement in the newborns were not associated with the stage and severity of the disease in the mothers with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Mothers , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Ann Med ; 53(1): 777-785, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1246573

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the aetiological agent of COVID-19 disease, is representing a worldwide threat for the medical community and the society at large so that it is being defined as "the twenty-first-century disease". Often associated with a severe cytokine storm, leading to more severe cases, it is mandatory to block such occurrence early in the disease course, to prevent the patients from having more severe, sometimes fatal, outcomes. In this framework, early detection of "danger signals", possibly represented by alarmins, can represent one of the most promising strategies to effectively tailor the disease and to better understand the underlying mechanisms eventually leading to death or severe consequences. In light of such considerations, the present article aims at evaluating the role of alarmins in patients affected by COVID-19 disease and the relationship of such compounds with the most commonly reported comorbidities. The conducted researches demonstrated yet poor literature on this specific topic, however preliminarily confirming a role for danger signals in the amplification of the inflammatory reaction associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. As such, a number of chronic conditions, including metabolic syndrome, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases, in turn, associated with higher levels of alarmins, both foster the infection and predispose to a worse prognosis. According to these preliminary data, prompt detection of high levels of alarmins in patients with COVID-19 and co-morbidities could suggest an immediate intense anti-inflammatory treatment.Key messageAlarmins have a role in the amplification of the inflammatory reaction associated with SARS-CoV-2 infectiona prompt detection of high levels of alarmins in patients with COVID-19 could suggest an immediate intense anti-inflammatory treatment.


Subject(s)
Alarmins/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Comorbidity , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/virology , Prognosis , Severity of Illness Index
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