Systematic review and meta-analysis on the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on air quality in low- and middle-income countries.
The Science of the total environment. 2024;:168110
BACKGROUND Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are disproportionately affected by air pollution and its health burden, representing a global inequity. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity to investigate the impact of unprecedented lockdown measures on air pollutant concentrations globally. We aim to quantify air pollutant concentration changes across LMIC settings as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. METHODS Searches for this systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out across five databases on 30th March 2022; MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus and Transport Research Information Documentation. Modelling and observational studies were included, as long as the estimates reflected city or town level data and were taken exclusively in pre-lockdown and lockdown periods. Mean percentage changes per pollutant were calculated and meta-analyses were carried out to calculate mean difference in measured ground-level observed concentrations for each pollutant (PROSPERO CRD42022326924). FINDINGS Of the 2982 manuscripts from initial searches, 256 manuscripts were included providing 3818 percentage changes of all pollutants. No studies included any countries from Sub-Saharan Africa and 34 % and 39.4 % of studies were from China and India, respectively. There was a mean percentage change of -37.4 %, -21.7 %, -54.6 %, -39.1 %, -48.9 %, 16.9 %, -34.9 %, -30.6 % and - 14.7 % for black carbon (BC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), ozone (O3), particulate matter 10 (PM10) and 2.5 (PM2.5) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), respectively. Meta-analysis included 100 manuscripts, providing 908 mean concentration differences, which showed significant reduction in mean concentration in all study settings for BC (-0.46 μg/m3, PI -0.85; -0.08), CO (-0.25 mg/m3, PI -0.44; -0.03), NO2 (-19.41 μg/m3, PI -31.14; -7.68) and NOx (-22.32 μg/m3, PI -40.94; -3.70). INTERPRETATION The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis quantify and confirm the trends reported across the globe in air pollutant concentration, including increases in O3. Despite the majority of global urban growth occurring in LMIC, there are distinct geographical gaps in air pollution data and, where it is available, differing approaches to analysis and reporting.
The effect of the urban exposome on COVID-19 health outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Environmental research. 2024;(Pt 2):117351
BACKGROUND The global severity of SARS-CoV-2 illness has been associated with various urban characteristics, including exposure to ambient air pollutants. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to synthesize findings from ecological and non-ecological studies to investigate the impact of multiple urban-related features on a variety of COVID-19 health outcomes. METHODS On December 5, 2022, PubMed was searched to identify all types of observational studies that examined one or more urban exposome characteristics in relation to various COVID-19 health outcomes such as infection severity, the need for hospitalization, ICU admission, COVID pneumonia, and mortality. RESULTS A total of 38 non-ecological and 241 ecological studies were included in this review. Non-ecological studies highlighted the significant effects of population density, urbanization, and exposure to ambient air pollutants, particularly PM2.5. The meta-analyses revealed that a 1 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 hospitalization (pooled OR 1.08 (95% CI:1.02-1.14)) and death (pooled OR 1.06 (95% CI:1.03-1.09)). Ecological studies, in addition to confirming the findings of non-ecological studies, also indicated that higher exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO), as well as lower ambient temperature, humidity, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and less green and blue space exposure, were associated with increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. CONCLUSION This systematic review has identified several key vulnerability features related to urban areas in the context of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The findings underscore the importance of improving policies related to urban exposures and implementing measures to protect individuals from these harmful environmental stressors.
Effectiveness, reach, uptake, and feasibility of digital health interventions for adults with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
The Lancet. Digital health. 2023;(3):e125-e143
BACKGROUND Digital health interventions have shown promising results for the management of type 2 diabetes, but a comparison of the effectiveness and implementation of the different modes is not currently available. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the effectiveness of SMS, smartphone application, and website-based interventions on improving glycaemia in adults with type 2 diabetes and report on their reach, uptake, and feasibility. METHODS In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched CINAHL, Cochrane Central, Embase, MEDLINE, and PsycInfo on May 25, 2022, for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that examined the effectiveness of digital health interventions in reducing glycated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in adults with type 2 diabetes, published in English from Jan 1, 2009. Screening was carried out using Covidence, and data were extracted following Cochrane's guidelines. The primary endpoint assessed was the change in the mean (and 95% CI) plasma concentration of HbA1c at 3 months or more. Cochrane risk of bias 2 was used to assess risk of bias. Data on reach, uptake, and feasibility were summarised narratively and data on HbA1c reduction were synthesised in a meta-analysis. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation criteria was used to evaluate the level of evidence. The study was registered with PROSPERO, CRD42021247845. FINDINGS Of the 3236 records identified, 56 RCTs from 24 regions (n=11 486 participants), were included in the narrative synthesis, and 26 studies (n=4546 participants) in the meta-analysis. 20 studies used SMS as the primary mode of delivery of the digital health intervention, 25 used smartphone applications, and 11 implemented interventions via websites. Smartphone application interventions reported higher reach compared with SMS and website-based interventions, but website-based interventions reported higher uptake compared with SMS and smartphone application interventions. Effective interventions, in general, included people with greater severity of their condition at baseline (ie, higher HbA1c) and administration of a higher dose intensity of the intervention, such as more frequent use of smartphone applications. Overall, digital health intervention group participants had a -0·30 (95% CI -0·42 to -0·19) percentage point greater reduction in HbA1c, compared with control group participants. The difference in HbA1c reduction between groups was statistically significant when interventions were delivered through smartphone applications (-0·42% [-0·63 to -0·20]) and via SMS (-0·37% [-0·57 to -0·17]), but not when delivered via websites (-0·09% [-0·64 to 0·46]). Due to the considerable heterogeneity between included studies, the level of evidence was moderate overall. INTERPRETATION Smartphone application and SMS interventions, but not website-based interventions, were associated with better glycaemic control. However, the studies' heterogeneity should be recognised. Considering that both smartphone application and SMS interventions are effective for diabetes management, clinicians should consider factors such as reach, uptake, patient preference, and context of the intervention when deciding on the mode of delivery of the intervention. Nine in ten people worldwide own a feature phone and can receive SMS and four in five people have access to a smartphone, with numerous smartphone applications being available for diabetes management. Clinicians should familiarise themselves with this modality of programme delivery and encourage people with type 2 diabetes to use evidence-based applications for improving their self-management of diabetes. Future research needs to describe in detail the mediators and moderators of the effectiveness and implementation of SMS and smartphone application interventions, such as the optimal dose, frequency, timing, user interface, and communication mode to both further improve their effectiveness and to increase their reach, uptake, and feasibility. FUNDING EU's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.
Meta-Analysis of COVID-19 Metabolomics Identifies Variations in Robustness of Biomarkers.
International journal of molecular sciences. 2023;(18)
The global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread harms but also rapid advances in vaccine development, diagnostic testing, and treatment. As the disease moves to endemic status, the need to identify characteristic biomarkers of the disease for diagnostics or therapeutics has lessened, but lessons can still be learned to inform biomarker research in dealing with future pathogens. In this work, we test five sets of research-derived biomarkers against an independent targeted and quantitative Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry metabolomics dataset to evaluate how robustly these proposed panels would distinguish between COVID-19-positive and negative patients in a hospital setting. We further evaluate a crowdsourced panel comprising the COVID-19 metabolomics biomarkers most commonly mentioned in the literature between 2020 and 2023. The best-performing panel in the independent dataset-measured by F1 score (0.76) and AUROC (0.77)-included nine biomarkers: lactic acid, glutamate, aspartate, phenylalanine, β-alanine, ornithine, arachidonic acid, choline, and hypoxanthine. Panels comprising fewer metabolites performed less well, showing weaker statistical significance in the independent cohort than originally reported in their respective discovery studies. Whilst the studies reviewed here were small and may be subject to confounders, it is desirable that biomarker panels be resilient across cohorts if they are to find use in the clinic, highlighting the importance of assessing the robustness and reproducibility of metabolomics analyses in independent populations.
N-acetylcysteine efficacy in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Romanian journal of internal medicine = Revue roumaine de medecine interne. 2023;(1):41-52
BACKGROUND N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a mucolytic agents with anti-inflammatory properties that has been suggested as an adjunctive therapy in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. OBJECTIVES We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate available evidence on the possible beneficial effects of NAC on SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS In September 2022, we conducted a comprehensive search on Pubmed/Medline and Embase on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies on NAC in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Study selection, data extraction and risk of bias assessment was performed by two independent authors. RCTs and observational studies were analyzed separately. RESULTS We included 3 RCTs and 5 non-randomized studies on the efficacy of NAC in patients with COVID-19, enrolling 315 and 20826 patients respectively. Regarding in-hospital mortality, the summary effect of all RCTs was OR: 0.85 (95% CI: 0.43 to 1.67, I2=0%) and for non-randomized studies OR: 1.02 (95% CI: 0.47 to 2.23, I2=91%). Need for ICU admission was only reported by 1 RCT (OR: 0.86, 95% CI:0.44-1.69, p=0.66), while all included RCTs reported need for invasive ventilation (OR:0.91, 95% CI:0.54 to 1.53, I2=0). Risk of bias was low for all included RCTs, but certainty of evidence was very low for all outcomes due to serious imprecision and indirectness. CONCLUSION The certainty of evidence in the included studies was very low, thus recommendations for clinical practice cannot be yet made. For all hard clinical outcomes point estimates in RCTs are close to the line of no effect, while observational studies have a high degree of heterogeneity with some of them suggesting favorable results in patients receiving NAC. More research is warranted to insure that NAC is both effective and safe in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
The effect of adherence to high-quality dietary pattern on COVID-19 outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Journal of medical virology. 2023;(1):e28298
Dietary quality and patterns may influence SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcomes, but scientific data and evidence to support such a role are lacking. Therefore, this meta-analysis aims to elucidate the effect of prepandemic diet quality on the risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. PubMed/MEDLINE, CENTRAL, Scopus, and EMBASE were systematically searched for articles published up to September 1, 2022. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to calculate each outcome's risk ratio (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI). Five studies including 4 023 663 individuals (3 149 784 high-quality diet individuals and 873 881 controls) were included in the present meta-analysis. The effectiveness of high-quality dietary pattern against SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization was 28% (95% CI 19%-36%) and 62% (95% CI 25%-80%); respectively. Subgroup analysis based on different levels of diet quality showed no difference between middle and high levels of diet quality in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection. Interestingly, subgroup analysis based on the different types of high-quality diets and the risk of COVID-19 infection revealed that the effectiveness of plant-based diet against SARS-CoV-2 infection was 50% (95% CI 30%-65%); while the effectiveness of Mediterranean diet against SARS-CoV-2 infection was 22% (95% CI 12%-31%). Adherence to a high-quality dietary pattern is associated with a lower risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization. More studies are required to confirm these findings, and future studies should determine the biological mechanisms underlying the association between diet quality and risk of COVID-19 infection.
Association of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination or Infection With Bell Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery. 2023;(6):493-504
IMPORTANCE Bell palsy (BP) has been reported as an adverse event following the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, but neither a causative relationship nor a higher prevalence than in the general population has been established. OBJECTIVE To compare the incidence of BP in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine recipients vs unvaccinated individuals or placebo recipients. DATA SOURCES A systematic search of MEDLINE (via PubMed), Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar from the inception of the COVID-19 report (December 2019) to August 15, 2022. STUDY SELECTION Articles reporting BP incidence with SARS-CoV-2 vaccination were included. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS This study followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline and was conducted with the random- and fixed-effect models using the Mantel-Haenszel method. The quality of the studies was evaluated by the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The outcomes of interest were to compare BP incidence among (1) SARS-CoV-2 vaccine recipients, (2) nonrecipients in the placebo or unvaccinated cohorts, (3) different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and (4) SARS-CoV-2-infected vs SARS-CoV-2-vaccinated individuals. RESULTS Fifty studies were included, of which 17 entered the quantitative synthesis. Pooling 4 phase 3 randomized clinical trials showed significantly higher BP in recipients of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines (77 525 vaccine recipients vs 66 682 placebo recipients; odds ratio [OR], 3.00; 95% CI, 1.10-8.18; I2 = 0%). There was, however, no significant increase in BP after administration of the messenger RNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in pooling 8 observational studies (13 518 026 doses vs 13 510 701 unvaccinated; OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.42-1.16; I2 = 94%). No significant difference was found in BP among 22 978 880 first-dose recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine compared with 22 978 880 first-dose recipients of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.82-1.15; I2 = 0%). Bell palsy was significantly more common after SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 2 822 072) than after SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations (n = 37 912 410) (relative risk, 3.23; 95% CI, 1.57-6.62; I2 = 95%). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests a higher incidence of BP among SARS-CoV-2-vaccinated vs placebo groups. The occurrence of BP did not differ significantly between recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vs Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. SARS-CoV-2 infection posed a significantly greater risk for BP than SARS-CoV-2 vaccination.
The effect of probiotics on the risk of mortality in patients with COVID-19: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials.
Probiotics have been hypothesized to play a beneficial role in modulating immune responses and gut microbiota in various clinical settings. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to assess the effectiveness of probiotics in reducing all-cause mortality among patients diagnosed with COVID-19. We conducted a comprehensive search of the following databases: PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science for published studies, and medRxiv, Research Square, and SSRN for preprints. The search spanned from the inception of these databases to April 4, 2023. We included studies that investigated the use of probiotics as an intervention and their impact on all-cause mortality in patients with COVID-19. A random-effects model meta-analysis was employed to estimate the pooled odds ratio, along with 95% confidence interval, to quantify the outcomes associated with probiotic use compared to other interventions. Our systematic review comprised six studies, encompassing a total of 642 patients. The meta-analysis, employing a random-effects model, demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality when probiotics were administered to patients with COVID-19, compared to those not receiving probiotics (pooled odds ratio = 0.44; 95% confidence interval 0.24-0.82). In conclusion, evidence derived from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) indicates a survival benefit associated with the use of probiotics among COVID-19 patients. However, it is essential to exercise caution and await data from large-scale randomized trials to definitively confirm the mortality benefits of probiotics in this patient population.
Robust cross-cohort gut microbiome associations with COVID-19 severity.
Gut microbes. 2023;(1):2242615
Although many recent studies have examined associations between the gut microbiome and COVID-19 disease severity in individual patient cohorts, questions remain on the robustness across international cohorts of the biomarkers they reported. Here, we performed a meta-analysis of eight shotgun metagenomic studies of COVID-19 patients (comprising 1,023 stool samples) and 23 > 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing (16S) cohorts (2,415 total stool samples). We found that disease severity (as defined by the WHO clinical progression scale) was associated with taxonomic and functional microbiome differences. This alteration in gut microbiome configuration peaks at days 7-30 post diagnosis, after which the gut microbiome returns to a configuration that becomes more similar to that of healthy controls over time. Furthermore, we identified a core set of species that were consistently associated with disease severity across shotgun metagenomic and 16S cohorts, and whose abundance can accurately predict disease severity category of SARS-CoV-2 infected subjects, with Actinomyces oris abundance predicting population-level mortality rate of COVID-19. Additionally, we used relational diet-microbiome databases constructed from cohort studies to predict microbiota-targeted diet patterns that would modulate gut microbiota composition toward that of healthy controls. Finally, we demonstrated the association of disease severity with the composition of intestinal archaeal, fungal, viral, and parasitic communities. Collectively, this study has identified robust COVID-19 microbiome biomarkers, established accurate predictive models as a basis for clinical prognostic tests for disease severity, and proposed biomarker-targeted diets for managing COVID-19 infection.
New-onset type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents as postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies.
Journal of medical virology. 2023;(6):e28833
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in children and adolescents may increase risk for a variety of post-acute sequelae including new-onset type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Therefore, this meta-analysis aims to estimate the risk of developing new-onset type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection. PubMed/MEDLINE, CENTRAL, and EMBASE were systematically searched up to March 20, 2023. A systematic review and subsequent meta-analyses were performed to calculate the pooled effect size, expressed as risk ratio (RR) with corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) of each outcome based on a one-stage approach and the random-effects estimate of the pooled effect sizes of each outcome were generated with the use of the DerSimonian-Laird method. Eight reports from seven studies involving 11 220 530 participants (2 140 897 patients with a history of diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 infection and 9 079 633 participants in the respective control groups) were included. The included studies reported data from four U.S. medical claims databases covering more than 503 million patients (IQVIA, HealthVerity, TriNetX, and Cerner Real-World Data), and three national health registries for all children and adolescents in Norway, Scotland, and Denmark. It was shown that the risk of new-onset T1DM following SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents was 42% (95% CI 13%-77%, p = 0.002) higher compared with non-COVID-19 control groups. The risk of developing new-onset T1DM following SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly higher (67%, 95% CI 32 %-112%, p = 0.0001) in children and adolescents between 0 and 11 years, but not in those between 12 and 17 years (RR = 1.10, 95% CI 0.54-2.23, p = 0.79). We also found that the higher risk for developing new-onset T1DM following SARS-CoV-2 infection only exists in studies from the United States (RR = 1.70, 95% CI 1.37-2.11, p = 0.00001) but not Europe (RR = 1.02, 95% CI 0.67-1.55, p = 0.93). Furthermore, we found that SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with an elevation in the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in children and adolescents compared with non-COVID-19 control groups (RR = 2.56, 95% CI 1.07-6.11, p = 0.03). Our findings mainly obtained from US medical claims databases, suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with higher risk of developing new-onset T1DM and diabetic ketoacidosis in children and adolescents. These findings highlight the need for targeted measures to raise public health practitioners and physician awareness to provide intervention strategies to reduce the risk of developing T1DM in children and adolescents who have had COVID-19.