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  • 030204 cardiovascular system & hematology
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  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Winston T Wang; Charlotte L Zhang; Kang Wei; Ye Sang; Jun Shen; Guangyu Wang; Alexander X. Lozano;
    Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Within COVID-19 there is an urgent unmet need to predict at the time of hospital admission which COVID-19 patients will recover from the disease, and how fast they recover to deliver personalized treatments and to properly allocate hospital resources so that healthcare systems do not become overwhelmed. To this end, we have combined clinically salient CT imaging data synergistically with laboratory testing data in an integrative machine learning model to predict organ-specific recovery of patients from COVID-19. We trained and validated our model in 285 patients on each separate major organ system impacted by COVID-19 including the renal, pulmonary, immune, cardiac, and hepatic systems. To greatly enhance the speed and utility of our model, we applied an artificial intelligence method to segment and classify regions on CT imaging, from which interpretable data could be directly fed into the predictive machine learning model for overall recovery. Across all organ systems we achieved validation set area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) values for organ-specific recovery ranging from 0.80 to 0.89, and significant overall recovery prediction in Kaplan-Meier analyses. This demonstrates that the synergistic use of an artificial intelligence (AI) framework applied to CT lung imaging and a machine learning model that integrates laboratory test data with imaging data can accurately predict the overall recovery of COVID-19 patients from baseline characteristics.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Mehrshad Sadria; Anita T. Layton;
    Publisher: MDPI AG
    Project: NSERC

    The goal of this study was to develop a mathematical model to simulate the actions of drugs that target SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. To accomplish that goal, we have developed a mathematical model that describes the control of a SARS-CoV-2 infection by the innate and adaptive immune components. Invasion of the virus triggers the innate immunity, whereby interferon renders some of the target cells resistant to infection, and infected cells are removed by effector cells. The adaptive immune response is represented by plasma cells and virus-specific antibodies. The model is parameterized and then validated against viral load measurements collected in COVID-19 patients. We apply the model to simulate three potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies: (1) Remdesivir, a repurposed drug that has been shown to inhibit the transcription of SARS-CoV-2, (2) an alternative (hypothetical) therapy that inhibits the virus’ entry into host cells, and (3) convalescent plasma transfusion therapy. Simulation results point to the importance of early intervention, i.e., for any of the three therapies to be effective, it must be administered sufficiently early, not more than a day or two after the onset of symptoms. The model can serve as a key component in integrative platforms for rapid in silico testing of potential COVID-19 therapies and vaccines.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Barbara J. Ballermann; Jenny Nyström; Börje Haraldsson;
    Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
    Project: NSERC , CIHR

    Inflammatory activation and/or dysfunction of the glomerular endothelium triggers proteinuria in many systemic and localized vascular disorders. Among them are the thrombotic microangiopathies, many forms of glomerulonephritis, and acute inflammatory episodes like sepsis and COVID-19 illness. Another example is the chronic endothelial dysfunction that develops in cardiovascular disease and in metabolic disorders like diabetes. While the glomerular endothelium is a porous sieve that filters prodigious amounts of water and small solutes, it also bars the bulk of albumin and large plasma proteins from passing into the glomerular filtrate. This endothelial barrier function is ascribed predominantly to the endothelial glycocalyx with its endothelial surface layer, that together form a relatively thick, mucinous coat composed of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, glycolipids, sialomucins and other glycoproteins, as well as secreted and circulating proteins. The glycocalyx/endothelial surface layer not only covers the glomerular endothelium; it extends into the endothelial fenestrae. Some glycocalyx components span or are attached to the apical endothelial cell plasma membrane and form the formal glycocalyx. Other components, including small proteoglycans and circulating proteins like albumin and orosomucoid, form the endothelial surface layer and are bound to the glycocalyx due to weak intermolecular interactions. Indeed, bound plasma albumin is a major constituent of the endothelial surface layer and contributes to its barrier function. A role for glomerular endothelial cells in the barrier of the glomerular capillary wall to protein filtration has been demonstrated by many elegant studies. However, it can only be fully understood in the context of other components, including the glomerular basement membrane, the podocytes and reabsorption of proteins by tubule epithelial cells. Discovery of the precise mechanisms that lead to glycocalyx/endothelial surface layer disruption within glomerular capillaries will hopefully lead to pharmacological interventions that specifically target this important structure.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Jonathon W. Senefeld; Patrick W. Johnson; Katie L. Kunze; Evan M. Bloch; Noud van Helmond; Michael A. Golafshar; Stephen A. Klassen; Allan M. Klompas; Matthew A. Sexton; Juan C. Diaz Soto; +48 more
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Project: NSERC

    Background The United States (US) Expanded Access Program (EAP) to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent plasma was initiated in response to the rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19. While randomized clinical trials were in various stages of development and enrollment, there was an urgent need for widespread access to potential therapeutic agents. The objective of this study is to report on the demographic, geographical, and chronological characteristics of patients in the EAP, and key safety metrics following transfusion of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Methods and findings Mayo Clinic served as the central institutional review board for all participating facilities, and any US physician could participate as a local physician–principal investigator. Eligible patients were hospitalized, were aged 18 years or older, and had—or were at risk of progression to—severe or life-threatening COVID-19; eligible patients were enrolled through the EAP central website. Blood collection facilities rapidly implemented programs to collect convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Demographic and clinical characteristics of all enrolled patients in the EAP were summarized. Temporal patterns in access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma were investigated by comparing daily and weekly changes in EAP enrollment in response to changes in infection rate at the state level. Geographical analyses on access to convalescent plasma included assessing EAP enrollment in all national hospital referral regions, as well as assessing enrollment in metropolitan areas and less populated areas that did not have access to COVID-19 clinical trials. From April 3 to August 23, 2020, 105,717 hospitalized patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 were enrolled in the EAP. The majority of patients were 60 years of age or older (57.8%), were male (58.4%), and had overweight or obesity (83.8%). There was substantial inclusion of minorities and underserved populations: 46.4% of patients were of a race other than white, and 37.2% of patients were of Hispanic ethnicity. Chronologically and geographically, increases in the number of both enrollments and transfusions in the EAP closely followed confirmed infections across all 50 states. Nearly all national hospital referral regions enrolled and transfused patients in the EAP, including both in metropolitan and in less populated areas. The incidence of serious adverse events was objectively low (<1%), and the overall crude 30-day mortality rate was 25.2% (95% CI, 25.0% to 25.5%). This registry study was limited by the observational and pragmatic study design that did not include a control or comparator group; thus, the data should not be used to infer definitive treatment effects. Conclusions These results suggest that the EAP provided widespread access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma in all 50 states, including for underserved racial and ethnic minority populations. The study design of the EAP may serve as a model for future efforts when broad access to a treatment is needed in response to an emerging infectious disease. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT#: NCT04338360. Author summary Why was this study done? There was a public health need to provide expedited and broad access to convalescent plasma for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the early stages of this public health emergency in the United States. Convalescent plasma was initially administered through regulatory pathways that required per-patient approval, resulting in substantial administrative time. The Expanded Access Program (EAP) was initiated to provide broad access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma and to provide a framework for standardized collection of data describing the safety profile of convalescent plasma. What did the researchers do and find? The EAP provided rapid and broad access to convalescent plasma throughout the US and some US territories and was effective at providing therapy for demographic groups that were severely affected by COVID-19. In addition, the data provide evidence supporting that transfusion of convalescent plasma is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. What do these findings mean? The study design of the EAP may serve as an example for future efforts in response to a rapidly developing infectious disease when broad access to a treatment is needed in areas and demographic groups that are often poorly represented in clinical trials. In an observational study of registry data, Jonathon Senefeld and colleagues study factors related to patient enrollment in the Expanded Access Program for use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in the United States.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Mona Aflaki; Alexandria Flannery; João Pedro Ferreira; Matthew P. Cheng; Nadine Kronfli; Ariane Marelli; Faiez Zannad; James M. Brophy; Jon Afillalo; Thao Huynh; +7 more
    Publisher: BioMed Central
    Country: France
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Objectives The aim of the RAAS-COVID-19 randomized control trial is to evaluate whether an upfront strategy of temporary discontinuation of renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibition versus continuation of RAAS inhibition among patients admitted with established COVID-19 infection has an impact on short term clinical and biomarker outcomes. We hypothesize that continuation of RAAS inhibition will be superior to temporary discontinuation with regards to the primary endpoint of a global rank sum score. The global rank sum score has been successfully used in previous cardiovascular clinical trials. Trial design This is an open label parallel two arm (1,1 ratio) randomized control superiority trial of approximately 40 COVID-19 patients who are on chronic RAAS inhibitor therapy. Participants Adults who are admitted to hospital within the McGill University Health Centre systems (MUHC) including Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH), Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and who are within 96 hours of COVID-19 diagnosis (confirmed via PCR on any biological sample) will be considered for the trial. Of note, the initial protocol to screen and enrol within 48 hours of COVID-19 diagnosis was extended through an amendment, to 96 hours to increase feasibility. Participants have to be 18 years or older and would have to be on RAAS inhibitors for at least a month to be considered eligible for the study. Additionally, RAAS inhibitors should not have been held for more than 48 hours before randomization. A list of inclusion and exclusion criteria can be found in the full protocol document. In order to prevent heart failure exacerbation, patients with reduced ejection fraction were excluded from the trial. Once a patient is admitted on the ward with a diagnosis of COVID-19, we will confirm with the treating physician if the participant is suitable for the RAAS-COVID trial and meets all the inclusion and exclusion criteria. If the patient is eligible and informed consent has been obtained we will collect data on sex, age, ethnicity, past medical history and list of medications (e.g. other anti-hypertensives or anticoagulants), for further analysis. Intervention and comparator All the study participants will be randomized to a strategy of temporarily holding the RAAS inhibitor [intervention] versus continuing the RAAS inhibitor [continued standard of care]. Among participants who are randomized to the intervention arm, alternative guide-line directed anti-hypertensive medication will be provided to the treating physician team (detail in study protocol). In the intervention arm RAAS inhibitor will be withheld for a total of 7 days with the possibility of the withdrawn medication being initiated at any point after day 7 or on the day of discharge. The recommendation for re-initiating the withdrawn medication will be made to the treating physician. The re-initiation of these therapies are according to standard convention and follow-up as per Canadian guidelines. Additionally, the date of restarting the withdrawn medication or whether the medication was re-prescribed on discharge or not, will be collected. This will be used to conduct a sensitivity analysis. Furthermore, biomarkers such as troponin, c-reactive protein (CRP) and lymphocyte count will be assessed during the same time period. Samples will be collected on randomization, day 4 and day 7. Main outcomes Primary endpoint In this study the primary end point is a global rank score calculated for all participants, regardless of treatment assignment ( score from 0 to 7). Please refer to table 4 in the full protocol. In the context of the current trial, it is estimated that death is the most meaningful endpoint, and therefore has the highest score ( score of 7). This is followed by admission to ICU, the need for mechanical ventilation etc. The lowest scores ( score of 1) are assigned to biomarker changes (e.g. change in troponin, change in CRP). This strategy has been used successfully in cardiovascular disease trials and therefore is applicable to the current trial. The primary endpoint for the present trial is assessed from baseline to day 7 (or discharge). Participants are ranked across the clinical and biomarker domains. Lower values indicate better health (or stability). Participants who died during the 7th day of the study will be ranked based on all events occurring before their death and also including the fatal event in the score. Next, participants who did not die but were transferred to ICU for invasive ventilation will be ranked based on all the events occurring before the ICU entry and also including the ICU admission in the score. Those participants who did not die were not transferred to ICU for invasive ventilation, will be ranked based on the subsequent outcomes. The mean rank score will then be compared between groups. In this scheme, a lower mean rank score indicates greater overall stability for participants. Secondary endpoints : The key secondary endpoints are the individual components of the primary components and include the following: death, transfer to ICU primarily for invasive ventilation, transfer to ICU for other indication, non-fatal MACE ( any of following, MI, stroke, acute HF, new onset Afib), length of stay > 4 days, development of acute kidney injury ( > 40% decline in eGFR or doubling of serum creatinine), urgent intravenous treatment for high blood pressure, 30% increase in baseline high sensitivity troponin, 30% increase in baseline BNP, increase in CRP to > 30% in 48 hours and lymphocyte count drop> 30%. We will also look at the World Health Organization (WHO) ordinal scale for clinical improvement (in COVID-19) in our data. In this scale death will be assigned the highest score of 8. Patients with no limitation of activity will be assigned a score of 1 which indicates overall more stability (3). Additionally, we will evaluate the potential effects of discontinuing RAAS inhibition on alternative schedules (longer/shorter than 7 days, intermittent discontinuation) using a mechanistic mathematical model of COVID-19 immunopathology calibrated to data collected from our patient cohort. In particular, we will assess the impact of alternative schedules on primary and secondary endpoints including increases to baseline CRP and lymphocyte counts. Randomization Participants will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio. Randomization will be performed within an electronic database system at the time of enrolment using a random number generator, an approach that has been successfully used in other clinical trials. Neither participant, study team, or treating team will be blinded to the intervention arm. Blinding This is an open label study with no blinding. Numbers to be randomised (sample size) The approximate number of participants required for this trial is 40 patients (randomized 1:1 to continuation versus discontinuation of RAAS inhibitors). This number was calculated based on previous rates of outcomes for COVID-19 in the literature (e.g. death, ICU transfer) and statistical power calculations. Trial Status Protocol number: MP-37-2021-6641, Version 4: 01-10-2020. Trial start date September 1st 2020 and currently enrolling participants. Estimated end date for recruitment of participants : July 2021. Estimated end date for study completion: September 1st 2021. Trial registration Trial registration: ClincalTrials.gov: NCT04508985, date of registration: August 11th , 2020 Full protocol The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Anthony V. Incognito; Philip J. Millar; W Glen Pyle;
    Publisher: American Physiological Society
    Project: NSERC

    Acute respiratory distress syndrome and subsequent respiratory failure remains the leading cause of death (>80%) in patients severely impacted by COVID-19. The lack of clinically effective therapies for COVID-19 calls for the consideration of novel adjunct therapeutic approaches. Though novel antiviral treatments and vaccination hold promise in control and prevention of early disease, it is noteworthy that in severe cases of COVID-19, addressing “run-away” inflammatory cascades are likely more relevant for improvement of clinical outcomes. Viral loads may decrease in severe, end-stage coronavirus cases, but a systemically damaging cytokine storm persists and mediates multiple organ injury. Remote ischemic conditioning (RIC) of the limbs has shown potential in recent years to protect the lungs and other organs against pathological conditions similar to that observed in COVID-19. We review the efficacy of RIC in protecting the lungs against acute injury and current points of consideration. The beneficial effects of RIC on lung injury along with other related cardiovascular complications are discussed, as are the limitations presented by sex and aging. This adjunct therapy is highly feasible, noninvasive, and proven to be safe in clinical conditions. If proven effective in clinical trials for acute respiratory distress syndrome and COVID-19, application in the clinical setting could be immediately implemented to improve outcomes.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Michael J. Joyner; Rickey E. Carter; Jonathon W. Senefeld; Stephen A. Klassen; John Mills; Patrick W. Johnson; Elitza S. Theel; Chad C. Wiggins; Katelyn A. Bruno; Allan M. Klompas; +30 more
    Publisher: Massachusetts Medical Society
    Country: Netherlands
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Background Convalescent plasma has been widely used to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) under the presumption that such plasma contains potentially therapeutic antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that can be passively transferred to the plasma recipient. Whether convalescent plasma with high antibody levels rather than low antibody levels is associated with a lower risk of death is unknown. Methods In a retrospective study based on a U.S. national registry, we determined the anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody levels in convalescent plasma used to treat hospitalized adults with Covid-19. The primary outcome was death within 30 days after plasma transfusion. Patients who were enrolled through July 4, 2020, and for whom data on anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in plasma transfusions and on 30-day mortality were available were included in the analysis. Results Of the 3082 patients included in this analysis, death within 30 days after plasma transfusion occurred in 115 of 515 patients (22.3%) in the high-titer group, 549 of 2006 patients (27.4%) in the medium-titer group, and 166 of 561 patients (29.6%) in the low-titer group. The association of anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels with the risk of death from Covid-19 was moderated by mechanical ventilation status. A lower risk of death within 30 days in the high-titer group than in the low-titer group was observed among patients who had not received mechanical ventilation before transfusion (relative risk, 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48 to 0.91), and no effect on the risk of death was observed among patients who had received mechanical ventilation (relative risk, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.78 to 1.32). Conclusions Among patients hospitalized with Covid-19 who were not receiving mechanical ventilation, transfusion of plasma with higher anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody levels was associated with a lower risk of death than transfusion of plasma with lower antibody levels. (Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04338360.)

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Edward M. Conway; Edward L.G. Pryzdial;
    Publisher: Wiley
    Project: NSERC , CIHR

    In December 2019, the world was introduced to a new betacoronavirus, referred to as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) for its propensity to cause rapidly progressive lung damage, resulting in high death rates. As fast as the virus spread, it became evident that the novel coronavirus causes a multisystem disease (COVID-19) that may involve multiple organs and has a high risk of thrombosis associated with striking elevations in pro-inflammatory cytokines, D-dimer, and fibrinogen, but without disseminated intravascular coagulation. Postmortem studies have confirmed the high incidence of venous thromboembolism, but also notably revealed diffuse microvascular thrombi with endothelial swelling, consistent with a thrombotic microangiopathy, and inter-alveolar endothelial deposits of complement activation fragments. The clinicopathologic presentation of COVID-19 thus parallels that of other thrombotic diseases, such as atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), that are caused by dysregulation of the complement system. This raises the specter that many of the thrombotic complications arising from SARS-CoV-2 infections may be triggered and/or exacerbated by excess complement activation. This is of major potential clinical relevance, as currently available anti-complement therapies that are highly effective in protecting against thrombosis in aHUS, could be efficacious in COVID-19. In this review, we provide mounting evidence for complement participating in the pathophysiology underlying the thrombotic diathesis associated with pathogenic coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Based on current knowledge of complement, coagulation and the virus, we suggest lines of study to identify novel therapeutic targets and the rationale for clinical trials with currently available anti-complement agents for COVID-19.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Irena Papst; Michael Li; David Champredon; Benjamin M. Bolker; Jonathan Dushoff; David J. D. Earn;
    Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
    Country: Canada
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Background Patient age is one of the most salient clinical indicators of risk from COVID-19. Age-specific distributions of known SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19-related deaths are available for many regions. Less attention has been given to the age distributions of serious medical interventions administered to COVID-19 patients, which could reveal sources of potential pressure on the healthcare system should SARS-CoV-2 prevalence increase, and could inform mass vaccination strategies. The aim of this study is to quantify the relationship between COVID-19 patient age and serious outcomes of the disease, beyond fatalities alone. Methods We analysed 277,555 known SARS-CoV-2 infection records for Ontario, Canada, from 23 January 2020 to 16 February 2021 and estimated the age distributions of hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit admissions, intubations, and ventilations. We quantified the probability of hospitalization given known SARS-CoV-2 infection, and of survival given COVID-19-related hospitalization. Results The distribution of hospitalizations peaks with a wide plateau covering ages 60–90, whereas deaths are concentrated in ages 80+. The estimated probability of hospitalization given known infection reaches a maximum of 27.8% at age 80 (95% CI 26.0%–29.7%). The probability of survival given hospitalization is nearly 100% for adults younger than 40, but declines substantially after this age; for example, a hospitalized 54-year-old patient has a 91.7% chance of surviving COVID-19 (95% CI 88.3%–94.4%). Conclusions Our study demonstrates a significant need for hospitalization in middle-aged individuals and young seniors. This need is not captured by the distribution of deaths, which is heavily concentrated in very old ages. The probability of survival given hospitalization for COVID-19 is lower than is generally perceived for patients over 40. If acute care capacity is exceeded due to an increase in COVID-19 prevalence, the distribution of deaths could expand toward younger ages. These results suggest that vaccine programs should aim to prevent infection not only in old seniors, but also in young seniors and middle-aged individuals, to protect them from serious illness and to limit stress on the healthcare system.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Stephen A. Klassen; Jonathon W. Senefeld; Patrick W. Johnson; Rickey E. Carter; Chad C. Wiggins; Shmuel Shoham; Brenda J. Grossman; Jeffrey P. Henderson; James M. Musser; Eric Salazar; +13 more
    Country: Netherlands
    Project: NSERC

    To determine the effect of COVID-19 convalescent plasma on mortality, we aggregated patient outcome data from 10 randomized clinical trials, 20 matched control studies, 2 dose-response studies, and 96 case reports or case series. Studies published between January 1, 2020, and January 16, 2021, were identified through a systematic search of online PubMed and MEDLINE databases. Random effects analyses of randomized clinical trials and matched control data demonstrated that patients with COVID-19 transfused with convalescent plasma exhibited a lower mortality rate compared with patients receiving standard treatments. Additional analyses showed that early transfusion (within 3 days of hospital admission) of higher titer plasma is associated with lower patient mortality. These data provide evidence favoring the efficacy of human convalescent plasma as a therapeutic agent in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

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The following results are related to COVID-19. Are you interested to view more results? Visit OpenAIRE - Explore.
19 Research products, page 1 of 2
  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Winston T Wang; Charlotte L Zhang; Kang Wei; Ye Sang; Jun Shen; Guangyu Wang; Alexander X. Lozano;
    Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Within COVID-19 there is an urgent unmet need to predict at the time of hospital admission which COVID-19 patients will recover from the disease, and how fast they recover to deliver personalized treatments and to properly allocate hospital resources so that healthcare systems do not become overwhelmed. To this end, we have combined clinically salient CT imaging data synergistically with laboratory testing data in an integrative machine learning model to predict organ-specific recovery of patients from COVID-19. We trained and validated our model in 285 patients on each separate major organ system impacted by COVID-19 including the renal, pulmonary, immune, cardiac, and hepatic systems. To greatly enhance the speed and utility of our model, we applied an artificial intelligence method to segment and classify regions on CT imaging, from which interpretable data could be directly fed into the predictive machine learning model for overall recovery. Across all organ systems we achieved validation set area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) values for organ-specific recovery ranging from 0.80 to 0.89, and significant overall recovery prediction in Kaplan-Meier analyses. This demonstrates that the synergistic use of an artificial intelligence (AI) framework applied to CT lung imaging and a machine learning model that integrates laboratory test data with imaging data can accurately predict the overall recovery of COVID-19 patients from baseline characteristics.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Mehrshad Sadria; Anita T. Layton;
    Publisher: MDPI AG
    Project: NSERC

    The goal of this study was to develop a mathematical model to simulate the actions of drugs that target SARS-CoV-2 virus infection. To accomplish that goal, we have developed a mathematical model that describes the control of a SARS-CoV-2 infection by the innate and adaptive immune components. Invasion of the virus triggers the innate immunity, whereby interferon renders some of the target cells resistant to infection, and infected cells are removed by effector cells. The adaptive immune response is represented by plasma cells and virus-specific antibodies. The model is parameterized and then validated against viral load measurements collected in COVID-19 patients. We apply the model to simulate three potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies: (1) Remdesivir, a repurposed drug that has been shown to inhibit the transcription of SARS-CoV-2, (2) an alternative (hypothetical) therapy that inhibits the virus’ entry into host cells, and (3) convalescent plasma transfusion therapy. Simulation results point to the importance of early intervention, i.e., for any of the three therapies to be effective, it must be administered sufficiently early, not more than a day or two after the onset of symptoms. The model can serve as a key component in integrative platforms for rapid in silico testing of potential COVID-19 therapies and vaccines.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Barbara J. Ballermann; Jenny Nyström; Börje Haraldsson;
    Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
    Project: NSERC , CIHR

    Inflammatory activation and/or dysfunction of the glomerular endothelium triggers proteinuria in many systemic and localized vascular disorders. Among them are the thrombotic microangiopathies, many forms of glomerulonephritis, and acute inflammatory episodes like sepsis and COVID-19 illness. Another example is the chronic endothelial dysfunction that develops in cardiovascular disease and in metabolic disorders like diabetes. While the glomerular endothelium is a porous sieve that filters prodigious amounts of water and small solutes, it also bars the bulk of albumin and large plasma proteins from passing into the glomerular filtrate. This endothelial barrier function is ascribed predominantly to the endothelial glycocalyx with its endothelial surface layer, that together form a relatively thick, mucinous coat composed of glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, glycolipids, sialomucins and other glycoproteins, as well as secreted and circulating proteins. The glycocalyx/endothelial surface layer not only covers the glomerular endothelium; it extends into the endothelial fenestrae. Some glycocalyx components span or are attached to the apical endothelial cell plasma membrane and form the formal glycocalyx. Other components, including small proteoglycans and circulating proteins like albumin and orosomucoid, form the endothelial surface layer and are bound to the glycocalyx due to weak intermolecular interactions. Indeed, bound plasma albumin is a major constituent of the endothelial surface layer and contributes to its barrier function. A role for glomerular endothelial cells in the barrier of the glomerular capillary wall to protein filtration has been demonstrated by many elegant studies. However, it can only be fully understood in the context of other components, including the glomerular basement membrane, the podocytes and reabsorption of proteins by tubule epithelial cells. Discovery of the precise mechanisms that lead to glycocalyx/endothelial surface layer disruption within glomerular capillaries will hopefully lead to pharmacological interventions that specifically target this important structure.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Jonathon W. Senefeld; Patrick W. Johnson; Katie L. Kunze; Evan M. Bloch; Noud van Helmond; Michael A. Golafshar; Stephen A. Klassen; Allan M. Klompas; Matthew A. Sexton; Juan C. Diaz Soto; +48 more
    Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    Project: NSERC

    Background The United States (US) Expanded Access Program (EAP) to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent plasma was initiated in response to the rapid spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19. While randomized clinical trials were in various stages of development and enrollment, there was an urgent need for widespread access to potential therapeutic agents. The objective of this study is to report on the demographic, geographical, and chronological characteristics of patients in the EAP, and key safety metrics following transfusion of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Methods and findings Mayo Clinic served as the central institutional review board for all participating facilities, and any US physician could participate as a local physician–principal investigator. Eligible patients were hospitalized, were aged 18 years or older, and had—or were at risk of progression to—severe or life-threatening COVID-19; eligible patients were enrolled through the EAP central website. Blood collection facilities rapidly implemented programs to collect convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Demographic and clinical characteristics of all enrolled patients in the EAP were summarized. Temporal patterns in access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma were investigated by comparing daily and weekly changes in EAP enrollment in response to changes in infection rate at the state level. Geographical analyses on access to convalescent plasma included assessing EAP enrollment in all national hospital referral regions, as well as assessing enrollment in metropolitan areas and less populated areas that did not have access to COVID-19 clinical trials. From April 3 to August 23, 2020, 105,717 hospitalized patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19 were enrolled in the EAP. The majority of patients were 60 years of age or older (57.8%), were male (58.4%), and had overweight or obesity (83.8%). There was substantial inclusion of minorities and underserved populations: 46.4% of patients were of a race other than white, and 37.2% of patients were of Hispanic ethnicity. Chronologically and geographically, increases in the number of both enrollments and transfusions in the EAP closely followed confirmed infections across all 50 states. Nearly all national hospital referral regions enrolled and transfused patients in the EAP, including both in metropolitan and in less populated areas. The incidence of serious adverse events was objectively low (<1%), and the overall crude 30-day mortality rate was 25.2% (95% CI, 25.0% to 25.5%). This registry study was limited by the observational and pragmatic study design that did not include a control or comparator group; thus, the data should not be used to infer definitive treatment effects. Conclusions These results suggest that the EAP provided widespread access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma in all 50 states, including for underserved racial and ethnic minority populations. The study design of the EAP may serve as a model for future efforts when broad access to a treatment is needed in response to an emerging infectious disease. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT#: NCT04338360. Author summary Why was this study done? There was a public health need to provide expedited and broad access to convalescent plasma for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the early stages of this public health emergency in the United States. Convalescent plasma was initially administered through regulatory pathways that required per-patient approval, resulting in substantial administrative time. The Expanded Access Program (EAP) was initiated to provide broad access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma and to provide a framework for standardized collection of data describing the safety profile of convalescent plasma. What did the researchers do and find? The EAP provided rapid and broad access to convalescent plasma throughout the US and some US territories and was effective at providing therapy for demographic groups that were severely affected by COVID-19. In addition, the data provide evidence supporting that transfusion of convalescent plasma is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. What do these findings mean? The study design of the EAP may serve as an example for future efforts in response to a rapidly developing infectious disease when broad access to a treatment is needed in areas and demographic groups that are often poorly represented in clinical trials. In an observational study of registry data, Jonathon Senefeld and colleagues study factors related to patient enrollment in the Expanded Access Program for use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in the United States.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Mona Aflaki; Alexandria Flannery; João Pedro Ferreira; Matthew P. Cheng; Nadine Kronfli; Ariane Marelli; Faiez Zannad; James M. Brophy; Jon Afillalo; Thao Huynh; +7 more
    Publisher: BioMed Central
    Country: France
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Objectives The aim of the RAAS-COVID-19 randomized control trial is to evaluate whether an upfront strategy of temporary discontinuation of renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibition versus continuation of RAAS inhibition among patients admitted with established COVID-19 infection has an impact on short term clinical and biomarker outcomes. We hypothesize that continuation of RAAS inhibition will be superior to temporary discontinuation with regards to the primary endpoint of a global rank sum score. The global rank sum score has been successfully used in previous cardiovascular clinical trials. Trial design This is an open label parallel two arm (1,1 ratio) randomized control superiority trial of approximately 40 COVID-19 patients who are on chronic RAAS inhibitor therapy. Participants Adults who are admitted to hospital within the McGill University Health Centre systems (MUHC) including Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH), Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and who are within 96 hours of COVID-19 diagnosis (confirmed via PCR on any biological sample) will be considered for the trial. Of note, the initial protocol to screen and enrol within 48 hours of COVID-19 diagnosis was extended through an amendment, to 96 hours to increase feasibility. Participants have to be 18 years or older and would have to be on RAAS inhibitors for at least a month to be considered eligible for the study. Additionally, RAAS inhibitors should not have been held for more than 48 hours before randomization. A list of inclusion and exclusion criteria can be found in the full protocol document. In order to prevent heart failure exacerbation, patients with reduced ejection fraction were excluded from the trial. Once a patient is admitted on the ward with a diagnosis of COVID-19, we will confirm with the treating physician if the participant is suitable for the RAAS-COVID trial and meets all the inclusion and exclusion criteria. If the patient is eligible and informed consent has been obtained we will collect data on sex, age, ethnicity, past medical history and list of medications (e.g. other anti-hypertensives or anticoagulants), for further analysis. Intervention and comparator All the study participants will be randomized to a strategy of temporarily holding the RAAS inhibitor [intervention] versus continuing the RAAS inhibitor [continued standard of care]. Among participants who are randomized to the intervention arm, alternative guide-line directed anti-hypertensive medication will be provided to the treating physician team (detail in study protocol). In the intervention arm RAAS inhibitor will be withheld for a total of 7 days with the possibility of the withdrawn medication being initiated at any point after day 7 or on the day of discharge. The recommendation for re-initiating the withdrawn medication will be made to the treating physician. The re-initiation of these therapies are according to standard convention and follow-up as per Canadian guidelines. Additionally, the date of restarting the withdrawn medication or whether the medication was re-prescribed on discharge or not, will be collected. This will be used to conduct a sensitivity analysis. Furthermore, biomarkers such as troponin, c-reactive protein (CRP) and lymphocyte count will be assessed during the same time period. Samples will be collected on randomization, day 4 and day 7. Main outcomes Primary endpoint In this study the primary end point is a global rank score calculated for all participants, regardless of treatment assignment ( score from 0 to 7). Please refer to table 4 in the full protocol. In the context of the current trial, it is estimated that death is the most meaningful endpoint, and therefore has the highest score ( score of 7). This is followed by admission to ICU, the need for mechanical ventilation etc. The lowest scores ( score of 1) are assigned to biomarker changes (e.g. change in troponin, change in CRP). This strategy has been used successfully in cardiovascular disease trials and therefore is applicable to the current trial. The primary endpoint for the present trial is assessed from baseline to day 7 (or discharge). Participants are ranked across the clinical and biomarker domains. Lower values indicate better health (or stability). Participants who died during the 7th day of the study will be ranked based on all events occurring before their death and also including the fatal event in the score. Next, participants who did not die but were transferred to ICU for invasive ventilation will be ranked based on all the events occurring before the ICU entry and also including the ICU admission in the score. Those participants who did not die were not transferred to ICU for invasive ventilation, will be ranked based on the subsequent outcomes. The mean rank score will then be compared between groups. In this scheme, a lower mean rank score indicates greater overall stability for participants. Secondary endpoints : The key secondary endpoints are the individual components of the primary components and include the following: death, transfer to ICU primarily for invasive ventilation, transfer to ICU for other indication, non-fatal MACE ( any of following, MI, stroke, acute HF, new onset Afib), length of stay > 4 days, development of acute kidney injury ( > 40% decline in eGFR or doubling of serum creatinine), urgent intravenous treatment for high blood pressure, 30% increase in baseline high sensitivity troponin, 30% increase in baseline BNP, increase in CRP to > 30% in 48 hours and lymphocyte count drop> 30%. We will also look at the World Health Organization (WHO) ordinal scale for clinical improvement (in COVID-19) in our data. In this scale death will be assigned the highest score of 8. Patients with no limitation of activity will be assigned a score of 1 which indicates overall more stability (3). Additionally, we will evaluate the potential effects of discontinuing RAAS inhibition on alternative schedules (longer/shorter than 7 days, intermittent discontinuation) using a mechanistic mathematical model of COVID-19 immunopathology calibrated to data collected from our patient cohort. In particular, we will assess the impact of alternative schedules on primary and secondary endpoints including increases to baseline CRP and lymphocyte counts. Randomization Participants will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio. Randomization will be performed within an electronic database system at the time of enrolment using a random number generator, an approach that has been successfully used in other clinical trials. Neither participant, study team, or treating team will be blinded to the intervention arm. Blinding This is an open label study with no blinding. Numbers to be randomised (sample size) The approximate number of participants required for this trial is 40 patients (randomized 1:1 to continuation versus discontinuation of RAAS inhibitors). This number was calculated based on previous rates of outcomes for COVID-19 in the literature (e.g. death, ICU transfer) and statistical power calculations. Trial Status Protocol number: MP-37-2021-6641, Version 4: 01-10-2020. Trial start date September 1st 2020 and currently enrolling participants. Estimated end date for recruitment of participants : July 2021. Estimated end date for study completion: September 1st 2021. Trial registration Trial registration: ClincalTrials.gov: NCT04508985, date of registration: August 11th , 2020 Full protocol The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Anthony V. Incognito; Philip J. Millar; W Glen Pyle;
    Publisher: American Physiological Society
    Project: NSERC

    Acute respiratory distress syndrome and subsequent respiratory failure remains the leading cause of death (>80%) in patients severely impacted by COVID-19. The lack of clinically effective therapies for COVID-19 calls for the consideration of novel adjunct therapeutic approaches. Though novel antiviral treatments and vaccination hold promise in control and prevention of early disease, it is noteworthy that in severe cases of COVID-19, addressing “run-away” inflammatory cascades are likely more relevant for improvement of clinical outcomes. Viral loads may decrease in severe, end-stage coronavirus cases, but a systemically damaging cytokine storm persists and mediates multiple organ injury. Remote ischemic conditioning (RIC) of the limbs has shown potential in recent years to protect the lungs and other organs against pathological conditions similar to that observed in COVID-19. We review the efficacy of RIC in protecting the lungs against acute injury and current points of consideration. The beneficial effects of RIC on lung injury along with other related cardiovascular complications are discussed, as are the limitations presented by sex and aging. This adjunct therapy is highly feasible, noninvasive, and proven to be safe in clinical conditions. If proven effective in clinical trials for acute respiratory distress syndrome and COVID-19, application in the clinical setting could be immediately implemented to improve outcomes.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Michael J. Joyner; Rickey E. Carter; Jonathon W. Senefeld; Stephen A. Klassen; John Mills; Patrick W. Johnson; Elitza S. Theel; Chad C. Wiggins; Katelyn A. Bruno; Allan M. Klompas; +30 more
    Publisher: Massachusetts Medical Society
    Country: Netherlands
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Background Convalescent plasma has been widely used to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) under the presumption that such plasma contains potentially therapeutic antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that can be passively transferred to the plasma recipient. Whether convalescent plasma with high antibody levels rather than low antibody levels is associated with a lower risk of death is unknown. Methods In a retrospective study based on a U.S. national registry, we determined the anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody levels in convalescent plasma used to treat hospitalized adults with Covid-19. The primary outcome was death within 30 days after plasma transfusion. Patients who were enrolled through July 4, 2020, and for whom data on anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in plasma transfusions and on 30-day mortality were available were included in the analysis. Results Of the 3082 patients included in this analysis, death within 30 days after plasma transfusion occurred in 115 of 515 patients (22.3%) in the high-titer group, 549 of 2006 patients (27.4%) in the medium-titer group, and 166 of 561 patients (29.6%) in the low-titer group. The association of anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels with the risk of death from Covid-19 was moderated by mechanical ventilation status. A lower risk of death within 30 days in the high-titer group than in the low-titer group was observed among patients who had not received mechanical ventilation before transfusion (relative risk, 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48 to 0.91), and no effect on the risk of death was observed among patients who had received mechanical ventilation (relative risk, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.78 to 1.32). Conclusions Among patients hospitalized with Covid-19 who were not receiving mechanical ventilation, transfusion of plasma with higher anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody levels was associated with a lower risk of death than transfusion of plasma with lower antibody levels. (Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04338360.)

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Edward M. Conway; Edward L.G. Pryzdial;
    Publisher: Wiley
    Project: NSERC , CIHR

    In December 2019, the world was introduced to a new betacoronavirus, referred to as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) for its propensity to cause rapidly progressive lung damage, resulting in high death rates. As fast as the virus spread, it became evident that the novel coronavirus causes a multisystem disease (COVID-19) that may involve multiple organs and has a high risk of thrombosis associated with striking elevations in pro-inflammatory cytokines, D-dimer, and fibrinogen, but without disseminated intravascular coagulation. Postmortem studies have confirmed the high incidence of venous thromboembolism, but also notably revealed diffuse microvascular thrombi with endothelial swelling, consistent with a thrombotic microangiopathy, and inter-alveolar endothelial deposits of complement activation fragments. The clinicopathologic presentation of COVID-19 thus parallels that of other thrombotic diseases, such as atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), that are caused by dysregulation of the complement system. This raises the specter that many of the thrombotic complications arising from SARS-CoV-2 infections may be triggered and/or exacerbated by excess complement activation. This is of major potential clinical relevance, as currently available anti-complement therapies that are highly effective in protecting against thrombosis in aHUS, could be efficacious in COVID-19. In this review, we provide mounting evidence for complement participating in the pathophysiology underlying the thrombotic diathesis associated with pathogenic coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Based on current knowledge of complement, coagulation and the virus, we suggest lines of study to identify novel therapeutic targets and the rationale for clinical trials with currently available anti-complement agents for COVID-19.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Irena Papst; Michael Li; David Champredon; Benjamin M. Bolker; Jonathan Dushoff; David J. D. Earn;
    Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
    Country: Canada
    Project: NSERC

    Abstract Background Patient age is one of the most salient clinical indicators of risk from COVID-19. Age-specific distributions of known SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19-related deaths are available for many regions. Less attention has been given to the age distributions of serious medical interventions administered to COVID-19 patients, which could reveal sources of potential pressure on the healthcare system should SARS-CoV-2 prevalence increase, and could inform mass vaccination strategies. The aim of this study is to quantify the relationship between COVID-19 patient age and serious outcomes of the disease, beyond fatalities alone. Methods We analysed 277,555 known SARS-CoV-2 infection records for Ontario, Canada, from 23 January 2020 to 16 February 2021 and estimated the age distributions of hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit admissions, intubations, and ventilations. We quantified the probability of hospitalization given known SARS-CoV-2 infection, and of survival given COVID-19-related hospitalization. Results The distribution of hospitalizations peaks with a wide plateau covering ages 60–90, whereas deaths are concentrated in ages 80+. The estimated probability of hospitalization given known infection reaches a maximum of 27.8% at age 80 (95% CI 26.0%–29.7%). The probability of survival given hospitalization is nearly 100% for adults younger than 40, but declines substantially after this age; for example, a hospitalized 54-year-old patient has a 91.7% chance of surviving COVID-19 (95% CI 88.3%–94.4%). Conclusions Our study demonstrates a significant need for hospitalization in middle-aged individuals and young seniors. This need is not captured by the distribution of deaths, which is heavily concentrated in very old ages. The probability of survival given hospitalization for COVID-19 is lower than is generally perceived for patients over 40. If acute care capacity is exceeded due to an increase in COVID-19 prevalence, the distribution of deaths could expand toward younger ages. These results suggest that vaccine programs should aim to prevent infection not only in old seniors, but also in young seniors and middle-aged individuals, to protect them from serious illness and to limit stress on the healthcare system.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Stephen A. Klassen; Jonathon W. Senefeld; Patrick W. Johnson; Rickey E. Carter; Chad C. Wiggins; Shmuel Shoham; Brenda J. Grossman; Jeffrey P. Henderson; James M. Musser; Eric Salazar; +13 more
    Country: Netherlands
    Project: NSERC

    To determine the effect of COVID-19 convalescent plasma on mortality, we aggregated patient outcome data from 10 randomized clinical trials, 20 matched control studies, 2 dose-response studies, and 96 case reports or case series. Studies published between January 1, 2020, and January 16, 2021, were identified through a systematic search of online PubMed and MEDLINE databases. Random effects analyses of randomized clinical trials and matched control data demonstrated that patients with COVID-19 transfused with convalescent plasma exhibited a lower mortality rate compared with patients receiving standard treatments. Additional analyses showed that early transfusion (within 3 days of hospital admission) of higher titer plasma is associated with lower patient mortality. These data provide evidence favoring the efficacy of human convalescent plasma as a therapeutic agent in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.