Postvaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Journal of medical virology. 2022;(4):1428-1441
Healthcare workers (HCWs) remain on the front line of the battle against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and are among the highest groups at risk of infection during this raging pandemic. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the incidence of postvaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection among vaccinated HCWs. We searched multiple databases from inception through August 2021 to identify studies that reported on the incidence of postvaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs. Meta-analysis was performed to determine pooled proportions of COVID-19 infection in partially/fully vaccinated as well as unvaccinated individuals. Eighteen studies with 228 873 HCWs were included in the final analysis. The total number of partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated, and unvaccinated HCWs were 132 922, 155 673, and 17 505, respectively. Overall pooled proportion of COVID-19 infections among partially/fully vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs was 2.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-3.5). Among partially vaccinated, fully vaccinated and unvaccinated HCWs, pooled proportion of COVID-19 infections was 2.3% (CI 1.2-4.4), 1.3% (95% CI 0.6-2.9), and 10.1% (95% CI 4.5-19.5), respectively. Our analysis shows the risk of COVID-19 infection in both partially and fully vaccinated HCWs remains exceedingly low when compared to unvaccinated individuals. There remains an urgent need for all frontline HCWs to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Platelet extracellular vesicles in COVID-19: Potential markers and makers.
Journal of leukocyte biology. 2022;(1):63-74
Platelets and platelet extracellular vesicles (pEV) are at the crossroads of coagulation and immunity. Extracellular vesicles are messengers that not only transmit signals between cells, but also provide information about the status of their cell of origin. Thus, pEVs have potential as both biomarkers of platelet activation and contributors to pathology. Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19), caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a complex disease affecting multiple organs and is characterized by a high degree of inflammation and risk of thrombosis in some patients. In this review, we introduce pEVs as valuable biomarkers in disease with a special focus on their potential as predictors of and contributors to COVID-19.
Nebulized fentanyl for respiratory symptoms in patients with COVID-19 (ventanyl trial).
Patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) commonly experience distressing and challenging respiratory symptoms. Interventions such as oxygen therapy, oral opiates, and traditional nebulizers like ipratropium bromide and salbutamol are variable in their efficacy, and therapy responses in patients are difficult to predict. The purpose of this study is to investigate the efficacy of nebulized fentanyl citrate on dyspnea, cough, and throat pain in patients with COVID-19 and evaluate the safety with any potential adverse events.In COVID-19, about 59% of patients will exhibit cough, 35% generalized body ache and sore throat, and 31% dyspnea. Some methods such as nebulized lidocaine, magnesium sulfate, and systemic opioids have been used to manage the respiratory symptoms. It has been previously shown that fentanyl nebulizer has beneficial effect in improving shortness of breath in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The proposed theory behind that was that fentanyl decreased the rate of spontaneous respiratory rate, diminished the brain stem chemoreceptor response to hypoxia and hypercarbia, in addition to exhibiting a modulating effect on the brain stem. Therefore, we hypothesize that nebulized fentanyl has superior effect in improving shortness of breath and relieving cough compared to normal saline, in addition to its advantageous throat pain relief, while exhibiting fewer side effects in patients with COVID 19 infection. Therefore, this phase-III, randomized, comparative, parallel assignment, single-blinded clinical trial aims at assessing the efficacy and safety of nebulized fentanyl to suppress cough, improve breathlessness, and relieve throat pain in patients with COVID-19.
Trained Immunity: An Overview and the Impact on COVID-19.
Frontiers in immunology. 2022;:837524
Effectively treating infectious diseases often requires a multi-step approach to target different components involved in disease pathogenesis. Similarly, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global health crisis that requires a comprehensive understanding of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection to develop effective therapeutics. One potential strategy to instill greater immune protection against COVID-19 is boosting the innate immune system. This boosting, termed trained immunity, employs immune system modulators to train innate immune cells to produce an enhanced, non-specific immune response upon reactivation following exposure to pathogens, a process that has been studied in the context of in vitro and in vivo clinical studies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evaluation of the underlying pathways that are essential to inducing protective trained immunity will provide insight into identifying potential therapeutic targets that may alleviate the COVID-19 crisis. Here we review multiple immune training agents, including Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), β-glucan, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and the two most popular cell types involved in trained immunity, monocytes and natural killer (NK) cells, and compare the signaling pathways involved in innate immunity. Additionally, we discuss COVID-19 trained immunity clinical trials, emphasizing the potential of trained immunity to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection. Understanding the mechanisms by which training agents activate innate immune cells to reprogram immune responses may prove beneficial in developing preventive and therapeutic targets against COVID-19.
Potential Role of Zinc in the COVID-19 Disease Process and its Probable Impact on Reproduction.
Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.). 2022;(1):1-6
COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is the current world health crisis, producing extensive morbidity and mortality across all age groups. Given the established roles of zinc in combating oxidative damage and viral infections, zinc is being trialed as a treatment modality against COVID-19. Zinc also has confirmed roles in both male and female reproduction. The possible depletion of zinc with the oxidative events of COVID-19 is especially relevant to the fertility of affected couples. This review aims to present the pathophysiology of COVID-19, especially in relation to reproductive function; the role of zinc in the COVID-19 disease process; and how zinc depletion in concert with cytokine storm and reactive oxygen species production could affect reproduction. It also highlights research areas to better the understanding of COVID-19 and its impact on fertility and potential ways to mitigate the impact.
Efficacy of the adjuvanted subunit protein COVID-19 vaccine, SCB-2019: a phase 2 and 3 multicentre, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial.
Lancet (London, England). 2022;(10323):461-472
BACKGROUND A range of safe and effective vaccines against SARS CoV 2 are needed to address the COVID 19 pandemic. We aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine SCB-2019. METHODS This ongoing phase 2 and 3 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was done in adults aged 18 years and older who were in good health or with a stable chronic health condition, at 31 sites in five countries (Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, and South Africa). The participants were randomly assigned 1:1 using a centralised internet randomisation system to receive two 0·5 mL intramuscular doses of SCB-2019 (30 μg, adjuvanted with 1·50 mg CpG-1018 and 0·75 mg alum) or placebo (0·9% sodium chloride for injection supplied in 10 mL ampoules) 21 days apart. All study staff and participants were masked, but vaccine administrators were not. Primary endpoints were vaccine efficacy, measured by RT-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 of any severity with onset from 14 days after the second dose in baseline SARS-CoV-2 seronegative participants (the per-protocol population), and the safety and solicited local and systemic adverse events in the phase 2 subset. This study is registered on EudraCT (2020-004272-17) and ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04672395). FINDINGS 30 174 participants were enrolled from March 24, 2021, until the cutoff date of Aug 10, 2021, of whom 30 128 received their first assigned vaccine (n=15 064) or a placebo injection (n=15 064). The per-protocol population consisted of 12 355 baseline SARS-CoV-2-naive participants (6251 vaccinees and 6104 placebo recipients). Most exclusions (13 389 [44·4%]) were because of seropositivity at baseline. There were 207 confirmed per-protocol cases of COVID-19 at 14 days after the second dose, 52 vaccinees versus 155 placebo recipients, and an overall vaccine efficacy against any severity COVID-19 of 67·2% (95·72% CI 54·3-76·8), 83·7% (97·86% CI 55·9-95·4) against moderate-to-severe COVID-19, and 100% (97·86% CI 25·3-100·0) against severe COVID-19. All COVID-19 cases were due to virus variants; vaccine efficacy against any severity COVID-19 due to the three predominant variants was 78·7% (95% CI 57·3-90·4) for delta, 91·8% (44·9-99·8) for gamma, and 58·6% (13·3-81·5) for mu. No safety issues emerged in the follow-up period for the efficacy analysis (median of 82 days [IQR 63-103]). The vaccine elicited higher rates of mainly mild-to-moderate injection site pain than the placebo after the first (35·7% [287 of 803] vs 10·3% [81 of 786]) and second (26·9% [189 of 702] vs 7·4% [52 of 699]) doses, but the rates of other solicited local and systemic adverse events were similar between the groups. INTERPRETATION Two doses of SCB-2019 vaccine plus CpG and alum provides notable protection against the entire severity spectrum of COVID-19 caused by circulating SAR-CoV-2 viruses, including the predominating delta variant. FUNDING Clover Biopharmaceuticals and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
SARS-CoV-2-specific B- and T-cell immunity in a population-based study of young Swedish adults.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2022;(1):65-75.e8
BACKGROUND Young adults are now considered major spreaders of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease. Although most young individuals experience mild to moderate disease, there are concerns of long-term adverse health effects. The impact of COVID-19 disease and to which extent population-level immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) exists in young adults remain unclear. OBJECTIVE We conducted a population-based study on humoral and cellular immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and explored COVID-19 disease characteristics in young adults. METHODS We invited participants from the Swedish BAMSE (Barn [Children], Allergy Milieu, Stockholm, Epidemiology) birth cohort (age 24-27 years) to take part in a COVID-19 follow-up. From 980 participants (October 2020 to June 2021), we here present data on SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain-specific IgM, IgA, and IgG titers measured by ELISA and on symptoms and epidemiologic factors associated with seropositivity. Further, SARS-CoV-2-specific memory B- and T-cell responses were detected for a subpopulation (n = 108) by ELISpot and FluoroSpot. RESULTS A total of 28.4% of subjects were seropositive, of whom 18.4% were IgM single positive. One in 7 seropositive subjects was asymptomatic. Seropositivity was associated with use of public transport, but not with sex, asthma, rhinitis, IgE sensitization, smoking, or body mass index. In a subset of representative samples, 20.7% and 35.0% had detectable SARS-CoV-2 specific B- and T-cell responses, respectively. B- and T-cell memory responses were clearly associated with seropositivity, but T-cell responses were also detected in 17.2% of seronegative subjects. CONCLUSIONS Assessment of IgM and T-cell responses may improve population-based estimations of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The pronounced surge of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections among young adults indicates that the large-scale vaccination campaign should be continued.
The potential role of resveratrol as supportive antiviral in treating conditions such as COVID-19 - A formulator's perspective.
Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie. 2022;:112767
With an increased transmissibility but milder form of disease of the omicron variant of COVID-19 and the newer antivirals often still out of reach of many populations, a refocus of the current treatment regimens is required. Safe, affordable, and available adjuvant treatments should also be considered and known drugs and substances need to be repurposed and tested. Resveratrol, a well-known antioxidant of natural origin, shown to act as an antiviral as well as playing a role in immune stimulation, down regulation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine release and reducing lung injury by reducing oxidative stress, is such an option. New initiatives and collaborations will however need to be found to unleash resveratrol's full potential in the pharmaceutical market.
Implications of the NADase CD38 in COVID pathophysiology.
Physiological reviews. 2022;(1):339-341
During the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts have been made worldwide to develop effective therapies to address the devastating immune-mediated effects of SARS-CoV-2. With the exception of monoclonal antibody-mediated therapeutics and preventive approaches such as mass immunization, most experimental or repurposed drugs have failed in large randomized clinical trials (https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/therapeutics-and-covid-19-living-guideline). The worldwide spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus revealed specific susceptibilities to the virus among the elderly and individuals with age-related syndromes. These populations were more likely to experience a hyperimmune response characterized by a treatment-resistant acute lung pathology accompanied by multiple organ failure. These observations underscore the interplay between the virus, the biology of aging, and outcomes observed in the most severe cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The ectoenzyme CD38 has been implicated in the process of "inflammaging" in aged tissues. In a current publication, Horenstein et al. present evidence to support the hypothesis that CD38 plays a central role in altered immunometabolism resulting from COVID-19 infection. The authors discuss a critical but underappreciated trifecta of CD38-mediated NAD+ metabolism, aging, and COVID-19 immune response and speculate that the CD38/NAD+ axis is a promising therapeutic target for this disease.
Regulatory oversight on the use of experimental therapies during a pandemic: The case of early access to convalescent plasma therapy in three LMICs.
Drug discovery today. 2022;(3):686-689
Clinicians, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), contend with limited economic and healthcare resources in deciding appropriate and feasible care for their patients. Some of the LMICs affected by COVID-19 implemented convalescent plasma therapy without sufficient regulatory guidance. Based on this experience, there are several requirements going forward, including: the need for an immediately accessible data gathering and processing system; the necessity of establishing regulatory pathways for early access to experimental treatment during emergency situations; and the accompanying reporting and monitoring requirements must be set. The different stakeholders must also be properly incorporated in the system that such a pathway will create, without neglecting to properly inform the public of the patient rights especially during an emergency situation.