COVID-19 has emerged as a global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. So far, viral targets of cellular immunity and factors determining successful mounting of T-cell responses are poorly defined. We therefore analyzed cellular responses to membrane, nucleocapsid and spike protein in individuals suffering from moderate or severe infection and after recovery from mild disease. We demonstrate that the CoV-2 specific CD4+ T-helper cell response is directed against all three proteins with comparable magnitude, ex vivo proliferation and portions of responding patients. However, deceased individuals were more frequently amongst non-responders. Higher patient age and comorbidity index correlated with increased frequencies of CoV-2 specific CD4+ T-cells, harboring higher portions of IL-2-, but lower portions of IFNγ secreting cells. Diminished frequencies of membrane protein reactive IFNγ+ T cells were particularly associated with higher Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation II scores in patients admitted to intensive care. CoV-2 specific T cells exhibited elevated PD-1 expression in active patients as compared to recovered individuals with previous mild disease. In summary, our data suggest a link between individual patient predisposition with respect to age and comorbidity and impairment of CoV-2 specific Th1-type cellular immunity, thereby supporting a concept of altered T-cell function in patients at risk.
Arne Sattler, Stefan Angermair, Helena Stockmann, Katrin Moira Heim, Dmytro Khadzhynov, Sascha Treskatsch, Fabian Halleck, Martin E. Kreis, Katja Kotsch
BACKGROUND. COVID-19 patients develop pneumonia generally associated to lymphopenia and severe inflammatory response due to uncontrolled cytokine release. These mediators are transcriptionally regulated by the JAK-STAT signaling pathways, which can be disabled by small molecules. METHODS. A group of subjects (n = 20) was treated with baricitinib according to an off-label use of the drug. The study was designed as an observational longitudinal trial and approved by the local ethical committee. The patients were treated with baricitinib 4 mg twice daily for 2 days, followed by 4 mg per day for the remaining 7 days. Changes in the immune phenotype and expression of pSTAT3 in blood cells were evaluated and correlated with serum-derived cytokine levels and antibodies anti-SARS-CoV-2. In a single treated patient, we evaluated also the alteration of myeloid cell functional activity. RESULTS. We provided evidences that baricitinib-treated patients have a marked reduction in serum levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a rapid recovery in circulating T and B cell frequencies, and increased antibody production against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which were clinically associated with a reduction in oxygen flow need and progressive increase in the P/F. CONCLUSION. Baricitinib prevented the progression towards a severe/extreme form of the viral disease by modulating the patients’ immune landscape and these changes were associated with a safer and favorable clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. TRIAL REGISTRATION. The ClinicalTrials.gov identifier of this project is protocol NCT04438629. FUNDING. This work was supported by Fondazione Cariverona (ENACT Project) and Fondazione TIM.
Vincenzo Bronte, Stefano Ugel, Elisa Tinazzi, Antonio Vella, Francesco De Sanctis, Stefania Canè, Veronica Batani, Rosalinda Trovato, Alessandra Fiore, Varvara Petrova, Francesca Hofer, Roza Maria Barouni, Chiara Musiu, Simone Caligola, Laura Pinton, Lorena Torroni, Enrico Polati, Katia Donadello, Simonetta Friso, Francesca Pizzolo, Manuela Iezzi, Federica Facciotti, Pier Giuseppe Pelicci, Daniela Righetti, Paolo Bazzoni, Mariaelisa Rampudda, Andrea C. Comel, Walter Mosaner, Claudio Lunardi, Oliviero Olivieri
SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for development of COVID-19 in infected individuals, who can either exhibit mild symptoms or progress towards a life-threatening acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Exacerbated inflammation and dysregulated immune responses involving T and myeloid cells occur in COVID-19 patients with severe clinical progression. However, the differential contribution of specific subsets of dendritic cells and monocytes to ARDS is still poorly understood. In addition, the role of CD8+ T cells present in the lung of COVID-19 patients and relevant for viral control has not been characterized. Here, we have studied the frequencies and activation profiles of dendritic cells and monocytes present in the blood and lung of COVID-19 patients with different clinical severity in comparison with healthy individuals. Furthermore, these subpopulations and their association with antiviral effector CD8+ T cell subsets were also characterized in lung infiltrates from critical COVID-19 patients. Our results indicate that inflammatory transitional and non-classical monocytes and CD1c+ conventional dendritic cells preferentially migrate from blood to lungs in patients with severe COVID-19. Thus, this study increases the knowledge on specific myeloid subsets involved in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 disease and could be useful for the design of therapeutic strategies to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Ildefonso Sánchez-Cerrillo, Pedro Landete, Beatriz Aldave, Santiago Sánchez-Alonso, Ana Sánchez-Azofra, Ana Marcos-Jiménez, Elena Ávalos, Ana Alcaraz-Serna, Ignacio de los Santos, Tamara Mateu-Albero, Laura Esparcia, Celia López-Sanz, Pedro Martínez-Fleta, Ligia Gabrie, Luciana del Campo Guerola, Hortensia de la Fuente, María J Calzada, Isidoro González-Álvaro, Arantzazu Alfranca, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid, Cecilia Muñoz-Calleja, Joan B. Soriano, Julio Ancochea, Enrique Martín-Gayo
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.
Sabra L. Klein, Andrew Pekosz, Han-Sol Park, Rebecca L. Ursin, Janna R. Shapiro, Sarah E. Benner, Kirsten Littlefield, Swetha Kumar, Harnish Mukesh Naik, Michael Betenbaugh, Ruchee Shrestha, Annie A. Wu, Robert M. Hughes, Imani Burgess, Patrizio Caturegli, Oliver Laeyendecker, Thomas C. Quinn, David J. Sullivan, Shmuel Shoham, Andrew D. Redd, Evan M. Bloch, Arturo Casadevall, Aaron A. R. Tobian
Emerging data indicate that complement and neutrophils contribute to the maladaptive immune response that fuels hyper-inflammation and thrombotic microangiopathy, thereby increasing COVID-19 mortality. Here, we investigated how complement interacts with the platelet/neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs)/thrombin axis, using COVID-19 specimens, cell-based inhibition studies and NETs/human aortic endothelial cell (HAEC) co-cultures. Increased plasma levels of NETs, tissue factor (TF) activity and sC5b-9 were detected in patients. Neutrophils of patients yielded high TF expression and released NETs carrying active TF. Treatment of control neutrophils with COVID-19 platelet-rich plasma generated TF-bearing NETs that induced thrombotic activity of HAEC. Thrombin or NETosis inhibition or C5aR1 blockade attenuated platelet-mediated NET-driven thrombogenicity. COVID-19 serum induced complement activation in vitro, consistent with high complement activity in clinical samples. Complement C3 inhibition with compstatin Cp40 disrupted TF expression in neutrophils. In conclusion, we provide a mechanistic basis for a pivotal role of complement and NETs in COVID-19 immunothrombosis. This study supports strategies against SARS-CoV-2 that exploit complement or NETosis inhibition.
Panagiotis Skendros, Alexandros Mitsios, Akrivi Chrysanthopoulou, Dimitrios C. Mastellos, Simeon Metallidis, Petros Rafailidis, Maria Ntinopoulou, Eleni Sertaridou, Victoria Tsironidou, Christina Tsigalou, Maria G. Tektonidou, Theocharis Konstantinidis, Charalampos Papagoras, Ioannis Mitroulis, Georgios Germanidis, John D. Lambris, Konstantinos Ritis
Background: Initial reports from the Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic described children as being less susceptible to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) than adults. Subsequently, a severe and novel pediatric disorder termed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) emerged. We report on unique hematologic and immunologic parameters that distinguish between COVID-19 and MIS-C and provide insight into pathophysiology. Methods: We prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and classified them as having MIS-C or COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 were classified as having either minimal or severe disease. Cytokine profiles, viral cycle thresholds (Cts), blood smears, and soluble C5b-9 values were analyzed with clinical data. Twenty patients were enrolled (9 severe COVID-19, 5 minimal COVID-19, and 6 MIS-C). Five cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α) contributed to the analysis. TNF-α and IL-10 discriminated between patients with MIS-C and severe COVID-19. Cts and burr cells on blood smears also differentiated between patients with severe COVID-19 and those with MIS-C. Conclusion: Pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 are at risk for critical illness with severe COVID-19 and MIS-C. Cytokine profiling and examination of peripheral blood smears may distinguish between patients with MIS-C and severe COVID-19.
Caroline Diorio, Sarah E. Henrickson, Laura A. Vella, Kevin O. McNerney, Julie M. Chase, Chakkapong Burudpakdee, Jessica H. Lee, Cristina Jasen, Fran Balamuth, David M. Barrett, Brenda Banwell, Kathrin M. Bernt, Allison M. Blatz, Kathleen Chiotos, Brian T. Fisher, Julie C. Fitzgerald, Jeffrey S. Gerber, Kandace Gollomp, Christopher Gray, Stephan A. Grupp, Rebecca M. Harris, Todd J. Kilbaugh, Audrey R. Odom John, Michele P. Lambert, Emily J. Liebling, Michele Paessler, Whitney Petrosa, Charles A. Phillips, Anne F. Reilly, Neil Romberg, Alix E. Seif, Deborah Sesok-Pizzini, Kathleen Sullivan, Julie Vardaro, Edward M Behrens, David T. Teachey, Hamid Bassiri
Background: Pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection can be complicated by a dangerous hyperinflammatory condition termed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The clinical and immunologic spectrum of MIS-C and its relationship to other inflammatory conditions of childhood have not been studied in detail. Methods: We retrospectively studied confirmed cases of MIS-C at our institution from March to June 2020. The clinical characteristics, laboratory studies and treatment response were collected. Data were compared with historic cohorts of Kawasaki disease (KD) and macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). Results: Twenty-eight patients fulfilled the case definition of MIS-C. Median age at presentation was 9 years (range 1 month to 17 years); 50% of patients had pre-existing conditions. All patients had laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Seventeen patients (61%) required intensive care, including 7 patients (25%) requiring inotrope support. Seven patients (25%) met criteria for complete or incomplete KD and coronary abnormalities were found in 6 cases. Lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevation in inflammatory markers, D-dimer, B-type natriuretic peptide, IL-6 and IL-10 levels were common but not ubiquitous. Cytopenias distinguished MIS-C from KD and the degree of hyperferritinemia and pattern of cytokine production differed between MIS-C and MAS. Immunomodulatory therapy given to MIS-C patients included IVIG (71%), corticosteroids (61%) and anakinra (18%). Clinical and laboratory improvement were observed in all cases, including 6 cases that did not require immunomodulatory therapy. No mortality was recorded in this cohort. Conclusion: MIS-C encompasses a broad phenotypic spectrum with clinical and laboratory features distinct from Kawasaki disease and macrophage activation syndrome. Funding: This work was supported by the National Institute of Health / National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) K08-AR074562 (PYL), K08-AR AR073339 (LAH), R01-AR065538, R01-AR073201 and P30-AR070253 (PAN); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 5T32AI007512-34 (JL, JR, TB, AAN and RWN); Rheumatology Research Foundation Investigator Awards (PYL and LAH) and Medical Education Award (JSH); Boston Children’s Hospital Faculty Career Development Awards (PYL and LAH), the McCance Family Foundation (JWN), and the Samara Jan Turkel Center (JC, RPS, MBS).
Pui Y. Lee, Megan Day-Lewis, Lauren A. Henderson, Kevin Friedman, Jeffrey Lo, Jordan E. Roberts, Mindy S. Lo, Craig D. Platt, Janet Chou, Kacie J. Hoyt, Annette L. Baker, Tina Banzon, Margaret H. Chang, Ezra Cohen, Sarah de Ferranti, Audrey Dionne, Saddiq Habiballah, Olha Halyabar, Jonathan S. Hausmann, Melissa Hazen, Erin Janssen, Esra Meidan, Ryan W. Nelson, Alan A. Nguyen, Robert P. Sundel, Fatma Dedeoglu, Peter A. Nigrovic, Jane W. Newburger, Mary Beth F. Son
Background. The effects of Covid-19 in pregnancy remain relatively unknown. We present a case of second trimester pregnancy with symptomatic Covid-19 complicated by severe preeclampsia and placental abruption. Methods. We analyzed placenta for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 through molecular and immunohistochemical assays and by and electron microscopy, and we measured the maternal antibody response in blood to this infection. Results. SARS-CoV-2 localized predominantly to syncytiotrophoblast cells at the maternal-fetal interface of the placenta. Histological examination of the placenta revealed a dense macrophage infiltrate, but no evidence for vasculopathy typically associated with preeclampsia. Conclusion. This case demonstrates SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the placenta, highlighting the potential for severe morbidity among pregnant women with Covid-19.
Hillary Hosier, Shelli F. Farhadian, Raffaella A. Morotti, Uma Deshmukh, Alice Lu-Culligan, Katherine H. Campbell, Yuki Yasumoto, Chantal B.F. Vogels, Arnau Casanovas-Massana, Pavithra Vijayakumar, Bertie Geng, Camila D. Odio, John Fournier, Anderson F. Brito, Joseph R. Fauver, Feimei Liu, Tara Alpert, Reshef Tal, Klara Szigeti-Buck, Sudhir Perincheri, Christopher P. Larsen, Aileen M. Gariepy, Gabriela Aguilar, Kristen L. Fardelmann, Malini Harigopal, Hugh S. Taylor, Christian M. Pettker, Anne L. Wyllie, Charles S. Dela Cruz, Aaron M. Ring, Nathan D. Grubaugh, Albert I. Ko, Tamas L. Horvath, Akiko Iwasaki, Uma M. Reddy, Heather S. Lipkind
BACKGROUND. Convalescent plasma is the only antibody based therapy currently available for COVID 19 patients. It has robust historical precedence and sound biological plausibility. Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be safe as a treatment for COVID-19. METHODS. Thus, we analyzed key safety metrics after transfusion of ABO compatible human COVID-19 convalescent plasma in 5,000 hospitalized adults with severe or life threatening COVID-19, with 66% in the intensive care unit, as part of the US FDA Expanded Access Program for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. RESULTS. The incidence of all serious adverse events (SAEs) in the first four hours after transfusion was <1%, including mortality rate (0.3%). Of the 36 reported SAEs, there were 25 reported incidences of related SAEs, including mortality (n = 4), transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO; n = 7), transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI; n = 11), and severe allergic transfusion reactions (n = 3). However, only 2 (of 36) SAEs were judged as definitely related to the convalescent plasma transfusion by the treating physician. The seven-day mortality rate was 14.9%. CONCLUSION. Given the deadly nature of COVID 19 and the large population of critically-ill patients included in these analyses, the mortality rate does not appear excessive. These early indicators suggest that transfusion of convalescent plasma is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Michael J. Joyner, R. Scott Wright, DeLisa Fairweather, Jonathon W. Senefeld, Katelyn A. Bruno, Stephen A. Klassen, Rickey E. Carter, Allan M. Klompas, Chad C. Wiggins, John R.A. Shepherd, Robert F. Rea, Emily R. Whelan, Andrew J. Clayburn, Matthew R. Spiegel, Patrick W. Johnson, Elizabeth R. Lesser, Sarah E. Baker, Kathryn F. Larson, Juan G. Ripoll, Kylie J. Andersen, David O. Hodge, Katie L. Kunze, Matthew R. Buras, Matthew N.P. Vogt, Vitaly Herasevich, Joshua J. Dennis, Riley J. Regimbal, Philippe R. Bauer, Janis E. Blair, Camille M. van Buskirk, Jeffrey L. Winters, James R. Stubbs, Nigel S. Paneth, Nicole C. Verdun, Peter Marks, Arturo Casadevall
Background From March 2-April 12, 2020, New York City (NYC) experienced exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic due to novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Little is known regarding how physicians have been affected. We aimed to characterize COVID-19 impact on NYC resident physicians. Methods IRB-exempt and expedited cross-sectional analysis through survey to NYC residency program directors (PDs) April 3–12, 2020, encompassing events from March 2–April 12, 2020. Results From an estimated 340 residency programs around NYC, recruitment yielded 91 responses, representing 24 specialties and 2,306 residents. 45.1% of programs reported at least one resident with confirmed COVID-19: 101 resident physicians were confirmed COVID-19-positive, with an additional 163 residents presumed positive for COVID-19 based on symptoms but awaiting or unable to obtain testing. Two COVID-19-positive residents were hospitalized, with one in intensive care. Among specialties with >100 residents represented, negative binomial regression indicated that infection risk differed by specialty (p=0.039). 80% of programs reported quarantining a resident. 90/91 programs reported reuse or extended mask use, and 43 programs reported that personal protective equipment (PPE) was suboptimal. 65 programs (74.7%) have redeployed residents elsewhere to support COVID-19 efforts. Conclusion Many resident physicians around NYC have been affected by COVID-19 through direct infection, quarantine, or redeployment. Lack of access to testing and concern regarding suboptimal PPE are common among residency programs. Infection risk may differ by specialty. Funding AHA, MPB, RWSC, CGM, LRDG, JDH: NEI Core Grant P30EY019007, RPB Unrestricted Grant. ACP and JS: Parker Family Chair. SXX: University of Pennsylvania.
Mark P. Breazzano, Junchao Shen, Aliaa H. Abdelhakim, Lora Dagi Glass, Jason Horowitz, Sharon X. Xie, C. Gustavo De Moraes, Alice Chen-Plotkin, Royce W.S. Chen
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