Lessons from the Ebola outbreak shows that it is possible to develop rapid and effective clinical research responses without relying on anecdote.
Arthur L. Caplan, Ross Upshur
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has spurred a global health crisis. To date, there are no proven options for prophylaxis for those who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, nor therapy for those who develop COVID-19. Immune (i.e. “convalescent”) plasma refers to plasma that is collected from individuals, following resolution of infection and development of antibodies. Passive antibody administration through transfusion of convalescent plasma may offer the only short-term strategy to confer immediate immunity to susceptible individuals. There are numerous examples, where convalescent plasma has been used successfully as post-exposure prophylaxis and/or treatment of infectious diseases, including other outbreaks of coronaviruses (e.g., SARS-1, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [MERS]). Convalescent plasma has also been used in the COVID-19 pandemic; limited data from China suggest clinical benefit, including radiological resolution, reduction in viral loads and improved survival. Globally, blood centers have robust infrastructure to undertake collections and construct inventories of convalescent plasma to meet the growing demand. Nonetheless, there are nuanced challenges, both regulatory and logistical, spanning donor eligibility, donor recruitment, collections and transfusion itself. Data from rigorously controlled clinical trials of convalescent plasma are also few, underscoring the need to evaluate its use objectively for a range of indications (e.g., prevention vs treatment) and patient populations (e.g., age, comorbid disease). We provide an overview of convalescent plasma, from evidence of benefit, regulatory considerations, logistical work flow and proposed clinical trials, as scale up is brought underway to mobilize this critical resource.
Evan M. Bloch, Shmuel Shoham, Arturo Casadevall, Bruce S. Sachais, Beth Shaz, Jeffrey L. Winters, Camille van Buskirk, Brenda J. Grossman, Michael Joyner, Jeffrey P. Henderson, Andrew Pekosz, Bryan Lau, Amy Wesolowski, Louis Katz, Hua Shan, Paul G. Auwaerter, David Thomas, David J. Sullivan, Nigel Paneth, Eric Gehrie, Steven Spitalnik, Eldad Hod, Lewis Pollack, Wayne T. Nicholson, Liise-anne Pirofski, Jeffrey A. Bailey, Aaron A.R. Tobian
The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but presents profound consequences for patients with kidney disease, health care providers, and biomedical researchers. In this Viewpoint, I will discuss a number of kidney-specific aspects of COVID-19 infection, noting therapeutic and basic research opportunities.
This viewpoint addresses the major impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on biomedical research, the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic for research-intensive institutions, and what investigators can do to maintain some level of research activity while keeping their coworkers and trainees safe and engaged.
M. Bishr Omary, Jeetendra R. Eswaraka, S. David Kimball, Prabhas V. Moghe, Reynold A. Panettieri, Jr., Kathleen W. Scotto
Arturo Casadevall, Liise-anne Pirofski
The threat of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to health systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) can be compared metaphorically to a lake in Africa infested with a bask of crocodiles and the saying: “the eye of the crocodile.” In the lake, only the eyes of the crocodile appear on the surface while the rest of the body is submerged in water. In this Viewpoint, the eyes and the body of the crocodile represent the public health preparedness and health systems, respectively, in SSA.
The pandemic coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is rapidly spreading across the globe. In this issue of the JCI, Chen and colleagues compared the clinical and immunologic characteristics between moderate versus severe COVID-19. The authors found that respiratory distress on admission is associated with unfavorable outcomes. Increased cytokine levels (IL-6, IL-10 and TNFα), lymphopenia (in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells), and decreased IFNγ expression in CD4+ T cells are associated with severe COVID-19. Overall, this study characterized the cytokine storm in severe COVID-19 and provides insights into immune therapeutics and vaccine design.
Savannah F. Pedersen, Ya-Chi Ho
BACKGROUND. Since December 2019, an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, and is now becoming a global threat. We aimed to delineate and compare the immunologic features of severe and moderate COVID-19. METHODS. In this retrospective study, the clinical and immunologic characteristics of 21 patients (17 male and 4 female) with COVID-19 were analyzed. These patients were classified as severe (11 cases) and moderate (10 cases) according to the Guidelines released by the National Health Commission of China. RESULTS. The median age of severe and moderate cases was 61.0 and 52.0 years, respectively. Common clinical manifestations included fever, cough and fatigue. Compared to moderate cases, severe cases more frequently had dyspnea, lymphopenia, and hypoalbuminemia, with higher levels of alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, ferritin and D-dimer as well as markedly higher levels of IL-2R, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α. Absolute number of T lymphocytes, CD4+T and CD8+T cells decreased in nearly all the patients, and were markedly lower in severe cases (294.0, 177.5 and 89.0 × 106/L) than moderate cases (640.5, 381.5 and 254.0 × 106/L). The expressions of IFN-γ by CD4+T cells tended to be lower in severe cases (14.1%) than moderate cases (22.8%). CONCLUSION. The SARS-CoV-2 infection may affect primarily T lymphocytes particularly CD4+T and CD8+ T cells, resulting in decrease in numbers as well as IFN-γ production. These potential immunological markers may be of importance due to their correlation with disease severity in COVID-19.
Guang Chen, Di Wu, Wei Guo, Yong Cao, Da Huang, Hongwu Wang, Tao Wang, Xiaoyun Zhang, Huilong Chen, Haijing Yu, Xiaoping Zhang, Minxia Zhang, Shiji Wu, Jianxin Song, Tao Chen, Meifang Han, Shusheng Li, Xiaoping Luo, Jianping Zhao, Qin Ning
The editors of JCI and JCI Insight are revisiting our editorial processes in light of the strain that the COVID-19 pandemic places on the worldwide scientific community. Here, we discuss adjustments to our decision framework in light of restrictions placed on laboratory working conditions for many of our authors.
Rexford S. Ahima, Sarah Jackson, Arturo Casadevall, Gregg L. Semenza, Gordon Tomaselli, Kathleen L. Collins, Andrew P. Lieberman, Donna M. Martin, Pavan Reddy
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