Hypovitaminosis D is a highly spread condition correlated with increased risk of respiratory tract infections. Nowadays, the world is in the grip of the Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID 19) pandemic. In these patients, cytokine storm is associated with disease severity. In consideration of the role of vitamin D in the immune system, aim of this study was to analyse vitamin D levels in patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19 and to assess any correlations with disease severity and prognosis.
In this retrospective, observational study, we analysed demographic, clinical and laboratory data of 42 patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19, treated in Respiratory Intermediate Care Unit (RICU) of the Policlinic of Bari from March, 11 to April 30, 2020.
Eighty one percent of patients had hypovitaminosis D. Based on vitamin D levels, the population was stratified into four groups: no hypovitaminosis D, insufficiency, moderate deficiency, and severe deficiency. No differences regarding demographic and clinical characteristics were found. A survival analysis highlighted that, after 10 days of hospitalization, severe vitamin D deficiency patients had a 50% mortality probability, while those with vitamin D ≥ 10 ng/mL had a 5% mortality risk (p = 0.019).
High prevalence of hypovitaminosis D was found in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure, treated in a RICU. Patients with severe vitamin D deficiency had a significantly higher mortality risk. Severe vitamin D deficiency may be a marker of poor prognosis in these patients, suggesting that adjunctive treatment might improve disease outcomes.
We present Model-based AnalysEs of Transcriptome and RegulOme (MAESTRO), a comprehensive open-source computational workflow ( http://github.com/liulab-dfci/MAESTRO ) for the integrative analyses of single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) and ATAC-seq (scATAC-seq) data from multiple platforms. MAESTRO provides functions for pre-processing, alignment, quality control, expression and chromatin accessibility quantification, clustering, differential analysis, and annotation. By modeling gene regulatory potential from chromatin accessibilities at the single-cell level, MAESTRO outperforms the existing methods for integrating the cell clusters between scRNA-seq and scATAC-seq. Furthermore, MAESTRO supports automatic cell-type annotation using predefined cell type marker genes and identifies driver regulators from differential scRNA-seq genes and scATAC-seq peaks.
The pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has affected millions of people worldwide. To date, there are no proven effective therapies for this virus. Efforts made to develop antiviral strategies for the treatment of COVID-19 are underway. Respiratory viral infections, such as influenza, predispose patients to co-infections and these lead to increased disease severity and mortality. Numerous types of antibiotics such as azithromycin have been employed for the prevention and treatment of bacterial co-infection and secondary bacterial infections in patients with a viral respiratory infection (e.g., SARS-CoV-2). Although antibiotics do not directly affect SARS-CoV-2, viral respiratory infections often result in bacterial pneumonia. It is possible that some patients die from bacterial co-infection rather than virus itself. To date, a considerable number of bacterial strains have been resistant to various antibiotics such as azithromycin, and the overuse could render those or other antibiotics even less effective. Therefore, bacterial co-infection and secondary bacterial infection are considered critical risk factors for the severity and mortality rates of COVID-19. Also, the antibiotic-resistant as a result of overusing must be considered. In this review, we will summarize the bacterial co-infection and secondary bacterial infection in some featured respiratory viral infections, especially COVID-19.
As of June 2020, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has killed an estimated 440?000 people worldwide, 74% of whom were aged ≥65 years, making age the most significant risk factor for death caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. To examine the effect of age on death, we established a SARS-CoV-2 infection model in Chinese rhesus macaques ( Macaca mulatta) of varied ages. Results indicated that infected young macaques manifested impaired respiratory function, active viral replication, severe lung damage, and infiltration of CD11b + and CD8 + cells in lungs at one-week post infection (wpi), but also recovered rapidly at 2 wpi. In contrast, aged macaques demonstrated delayed immune responses with a more severe cytokine storm, increased infiltration of CD11b + cells, and persistent infiltration of CD8 + cells in the lungs at 2 wpi. In addition, peripheral blood T cells from aged macaques showed greater inflammation and chemotaxis, but weaker antiviral functions than that in cells from young macaques. Thus, the delayed but more severe cytokine storm and higher immune cell infiltration may explain the poorer prognosis of older aged patients suffering SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The emerging pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) presents an unprecedented challenge for healthcare systems globally. The clinical course of COVID-19 and its ability to rapidly create widespread infection has major implications, warranting vigorous infection prevention and control measures. As the confirmed number of cases has surpassed 5.6 million worldwide and continues to grow, the potential severity of the disease and its deadly complications requires urgent development of novel therapeutic agents to both prevent and treat COVID-19. Although vaccines and specific drug therapies have yet to be discovered, ongoing research and clinical trials are being conducted to investigate the efficacy of repurposed drugs for treating COVID-19. In the present review, the drug candidates that have been suggested to treat COVID-19 will be discussed. These include anti-viral agents (remdesivir, ribavirin, lopinavir-ritonavir, favipiravir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, oseltamivir, umifenovir), immunomodulatory agents (tocilizumab, interferons, plasma transfusions), and adjunctive agents (azithromycin, corticosteroids), among other miscellaneous agents. The mechanisms of action and further pharmacological properties will be explored, with a particular focus on the evidence-based safety and efficacy of each agent.
Convalescent plasma is a leading treatment for COVID-19, but there is a paucity of data identifying therapeutic efficacy. Among 126 potential convalescent plasma donors, the humoral immune response was evaluated by a SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization assay using Vero-E6-TMPRSS2 cells, commercial IgG and IgA ELISA to spike(S) protein S1 domain (Euroimmun), IgA, IgG and IgM indirect ELISAs to the full-length S or S-receptor binding domain(S-RBD), and an IgG avidity assay. Multiple linear regression and predictive models were utilized to assess the correlations between antibody responses with demographic and clinical characteristics. IgG titers were greater than either IgM or IgA for S1, full length S, and S-RBD in the overall population. Of the 126 plasma samples, 101(80%) had detectable neutralizing antibody(nAb) titers. Using nAb titers as the reference, the IgG ELISAs confirmed between 95-98% of the nAb positive, but only 20-32% of the nAb negative samples. Male sex, older age, and hospitalization with COVID-19 were associated with increased antibody responses across the serological assays. There was substantial heterogeneity in the antibody response among potential convalescent plasma donors, but sex, age, and hospitalization emerged as factors that can be used to identify individuals with a high likelihood of having strong antiviral antibody responses.
Large differences in COVID-19 death rates exist between countries and between regions of the same country. Some very low death rate countries such as Eastern Asia, Central Europe or the Balkans have a common feature of eating large quantities of fermented foods. Although biases exist when examining ecological studies, fermented vegetables or cabbage were associated with low death rates in European countries. SARS-CoV-2 binds to its receptor, the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). As a result of SARS-Cov-2 binding, ACE2 downregulation enhances the angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1 R) axis associated with oxidative stress. This leads to insulin resistanceas well as lung and endothelial damage, two severe outcomes of COVID-19. The nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) is the most potent antioxidant in humans and can block the AT1 R axis. Cabbage contains precursors of sulforaphane, the most active natural activator of Nrf2. Fermented vegetables contain many lactobacilli, which are also potent Nrf2 activators. Three examples are given: Kimchi in Korea, westernized foods and the slum paradox. It is proposed that fermented cabbage is a proof-of-concept of dietary manipulations that may enhance Nrf2-associated antioxidant effects helpful in mitigating COVID-19 severity.
Despite intense research there is currently no effective vaccine available against the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in the later 2019 and responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. This infectious and communicable disease has become one of the major public health challenges in the world. The clinical management of COVID-19 has been limited to infection prevention and control measures associated with supportive care such as supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation. Meanwhile efforts to find an effective treatment to inhibit virus replication, mitigate the symptoms, increase survival and decrease mortality rate are ongoing. Several classes of drugs, many of them already in use for other diseases, are being evaluated based on the body of clinical knowledge obtained from infected patients regarding to the natural history and evolution of the infection. Herein we will provide an updated overview of the natural history and current knowledge on drugs and therapeutic agents being tested for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. These include different classes of drugs such as antiviral agents (chloroquine, ivermectin, nitazoxanide, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, remdesivir, tocilizumab), supporting agents (Vitamin C, Vitamin D, azithromycin, corticosteroids) and promising investigational vaccines. Considering the controversies and excessive number of compounds being tested and reported in the literature we hope that this review can provide useful and updated consolidated information on potential drugs used to prevent, control and treat COVID-19 patients worldwide.
Limited data are available on pregnant women with COVID-19 and their neonates. We aimed to evaluate the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of newborns born to women infected with COVID-19. A multicenter cohort study was conducted among newborns born to mothers with COVID-19 in 34 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Turkey. Pregnant women (n = 125) who had a positive RT-PCR test and their newborns were enrolled. Cesarean section, prematurity, and low-birthweight infant rates were 71.2%, 26.4%, and 12.8%, respectively. Eight of 125 mothers (6.4%) were admitted to an intensive care unit for mechanical ventilation, among whom six died (4.8%). Majority of the newborns (86.4%) were followed in isolation rooms in the NICU. Four of 120 newborns (3.3%) had a positive RT-PCR test result. Although samples taken on the first day were negative, one neonate became positive on the second day and the other two on the fifth day. Sample from deep tracheal aspirate was positive on the first day in an intubated case.Conclusion: COVID-19 in pregnant women has important impacts on perinatal and neonatal outcomes. Maternal mortality, higher rates of preterm birth and cesarean section, suspected risk of vertical transmission, and low rate of breastfeeding show that family support should be a part of the care in the NICU.Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04401540 What is Known: • The common property of previous reports was the conclusions on maternal outcomes, rather than neonatal outcomes. • Published data showed similar outcomes between COVID-19 pregnant women and others. What is New: • Higher maternal mortality, higher rates of preterm birth and cesarean section, suspected risk of vertical transmission especially in a case with deep tracheal aspiration during the intubation, and the possible role of maternal disease severity on the outcomes are remarkable findings of this study. • In contrast to recommendation for breastfeeding, parents' preference to formula and expressed breast milk due to anxiety and lack of information shows that family support should be a part of the care in the NICU.