HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0023.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: COVID-19; bradykinin; ACE2; pulmonary angioedema; ARDS; icatibant
Online: 3 April 2020 (04:13:43 CEST)
Most striking observations in COVID-19 patients are the hints on pulmonary edema (also seen on CT scans as ground glass opacities), dry cough, fluid restrictions to prevent more severe hypoxia, the huge PEEP that is needed while lungs are compliant, and the fact that anti-inflammatory therapies are not powerful enough to counter the severity of the disease. We propose that the severity of the disease and many deaths are due to a local vascular problem due to activation of B1 receptors on endothelial cells in the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 enters the cell via ACE2, a cell membrane bound molecule with enzymatic activity that next to its role in RAS is needed to inactivate des-Arg9 bradykinin, the potent ligand of the bradykinin receptor type 1 (B1). In contrast to bradykinin receptor 2 (B2), the B1 receptor on endothelial cells is upregulated by proinflammatory cytokines. Without ACE2 acting as a guardian to inactivate the ligands of B1, the lung environment is prone for local vascular leakage leading to angioedema. Angioedema is likely a feature already early in disease, and might explain the typical CT scans and the feeling of people that they drown. In some patients, this is followed by a clinical worsening of disease around day 9 due to the formation antibodies directed against the spike (S)-antigen of the corona-virus that binds to ACE2 that could contribute to disease by enhancement of local immune cell influx and proinflammatory cytokines leading to damage. In parallel, inflammation induces more B1 expression, and possibly via antibody-dependent enhancement of viral infection leading to continued ACE2 dysfunction in the lung because of persistence of the virus. In this viewpoint we propose that a bradykinin-dependent local lung angioedema via B1 and B2 receptors is an important feature of COVID-19, resulting in a very high number of ICU admissions. We propose that blocking the B1 and B2 receptors might have an ameliorating effect on disease caused by COVID-19. This kinin-dependent pulmonary edema is resistant to corticosteroids or adrenaline and should be targeted as long as the virus is present. In addition, this pathway might indirectly be responsive to anti-inflammatory agents or neutralizing strategies for the anti-S-antibody induced effects, but by itself is likely to be insufficient to reverse all the pulmonary edema. Moreover, we provide a suggestion of how to ventilate in the ICU in the context of this hypothesis.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0235.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nutrition Keywords: acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); ascorbic acid; cathelicidin; coronavirus; COVID-19; cytokine storm; influenza; observational; pneumonia, prevention; respiratory tract infection; solar radiation; treatment; UVB; vitamin C; vitamin D
Online: 30 March 2020 (05:48:43 CEST)
The world is in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health measures that can reduce the risk of infection and death in addition to quarantines are desperately needed. This article reviews the roles of vitamin D in reducing risk of respiratory tract infections, knowledge about the epidemiology of influenza and COVID-19, and how vitamin D supplementation might be a useful measure to reduce risk. Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Several observational studies and clinical trials reported that vitamin D supplementation reduced risk of influenza, whereas others did not. Evidence supporting the role of vitamin D in reducing risk of COVID-19 includes that the outbreak occurred in winter, a time when 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations are lowest; that the number of cases in the Southern Hemisphere near the end of summer are low; that vitamin D deficiency has been found to contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome, and that case-fatality rates increase with age and with chronic disease comorbidity, both of which are associated with lower 25(OH)D concentration. To reduce risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/ml (100–150 nmol/l). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful. Randomized controlled trials and large population studies should be conducted to evaluate these recommendations.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0640.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: VIP; COVID-19; respiratory failure; vasoactive intestinal peptide; aviptadil; ARDS
Online: 28 August 2020 (11:38:23 CEST)
Background: Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) is known to bind to and protect the Alveolar Type II cell by blocking replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, upregulating surfactant production, blocking apoptosis, and blocking cytokine effects. RLF-100 (Aviptadil), a synthetic form of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) has been granted Fast Track Designation and is currently in phase 2/3 placebo-controlled trials. FDA has granted Emergency Use IND and Expanded Access Protocol approval for the use of RLF-100 in patients whose comorbidities render them ineligible for inclusion in the ongoing pivotal trial. Methods: This report describes the first 6 patients with Acute Respiratory Failure in Critical COVID-19, enrolled under Emergency Use IND were treated with three successive 12-hour infusions of intravenous Aviptadil at 50/100/150 pmol/kg/hr, while continuing to receive maximal ICU care. Results: Median patient follow-up time is 14 days. So far, all treated patients have survived. Improved radiographic appearance of typical “ground glass” COVID-19 features to varying degrees is seen in all patients within 72 hours. Improvement in blood oxygenation is seen in all patients, with complete remission from respiratory failure in 4 of 6 patients. An average 56% reduction in inflammatory markers was seen, together with a median 4 point reduction in the NIAID Ordinal Scale. 2/6 patients were discharged from the hospital and 1 patient was downgraded to the general medicine floor. Comment: The short term survival of 6/6 patients with respiratory failure in the setting of COVID-19 and major comorbidity is the most dramatic response ever seen with an antiviral agent. Improvement in radiographic appearance, oxygenation requirement, and inflammatory markers is consistent with in vitro evidence of direct anti-viral effect.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0178.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: Aviptadil; Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide; VIP; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Corona Virus; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; ARDS; Acute Lung Injury; ALI; surfactant; Alveolar Type II; ATII
Online: 2 August 2020 (18:16:20 CEST)
RLF-100 (Aviptadil), a synthetic form of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) is shown to block replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and has been granted Fast Track Designation by the US FDA for the treatment of Critical COVID-19 with Respiratory Failure. We describe the clinical course of the first patient treated with this investigational medication in an open label manner -- a 54 year old patient suffering antibody-mediated rejection of his double lung transplant who contracted COVID-19 with respiratory failure refractory to all currently available therapies. He received three infusions of RLF-100 under an FDA-approved emergency use IND. Within 24 hours of the third infusion, substantial improvement in oxygen saturation and radiographic improvement in characteristic COVID-19 pneumonitis was noted. He was discharged from intensive care at that point and scheduled for discharge to home at 1 week on room air. Despite an intervening hospitalization for trauma, he remains alive and free of respiratory failure at 28 days post treatment.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0180.v1
Online: 12 April 2020 (04:36:48 CEST)
With frequencies varying up to 20%, treatment resistant pulmonary failure is a major life-threatening complication in COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2, HCoV19) disease pathology. Both acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), proposed to be caused by an over-reacting immune system which floods the lung with edema, a liquid consisting of inflammatory cells, and diminished lung perfusion, have been postulated to cause this treatment resistant lung failure. Aging, co-morbidities, male gender and obesity are pre-existing factors associated with the more severe outcome. Thrombosis is more frequently observed than usually seen during ICU admission. Different hypotheses explaining the pathophysiological cascade leading to fast progressing severe COVID-19 disease and how to counteract it have been proposed. A variety of intervention studies to control severity are ongoing or planned. Not suggested so far, we here hypothesize that the inflammatory lipid modulator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) executes a prominent role in COVID-19 pathophysiology. Based on this we suggest measuring PGE2 in patients and evaluating selective inhibition of the human microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) as a potential innovative therapeutic approach in this devastating condition for which sonlicromanol, a drug currently in phase 2b studies for mitochondrial disease, is a candidate.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0519.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, ARDS, Famotidine, Celecoxib
Online: 24 August 2020 (09:46:15 CEST)
Celecoxib as adjuvant therapy has been shown in a small randomized trial for Covid-19 to prevent clinical deterioration and rapidly improve thoracic computerized axial tomography (CT-chest)1. Multiple descriptive trials of high dose famotidine (both inpatient and outpatient) have demonstrated clinical response2,3,4. We describe the rapid clinical responses after increasing the celecoxib dosage to 400mg bid with high dose famotidine 80mg qid in both a critical inpatient who on baseline required 40 liters per minute high flow nasal insufflation and an outpatient who declined admission but had critical Covid-19 biomarkers.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0045.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: ARDS; COVID-19; Berlin Criteria; Respiratory Failure
Online: 5 June 2020 (13:54:36 CEST)
Introduction: The exponential growth of the SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission during the first months of 2020 has placed substantial pressure on health systems worldwide. The complications derived from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vary in due to comorbidities, sex and age, with more than 50% of the patients who require some level of intensive care developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Areas covered: Various complications caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection have been identified, the most lethal being the acute respiratory distress syndrome, caused most likely by the presence of severe immune cell response and the concomitant alveolus inflammation. The authors carried out an extensive and comprehensive literature review on SARS-CoV-2 infection, the clinical, pathological and radiological presentation as well as the current treatment strategies. Expert Opinion Elevation of inflammatory biomarkers is a common trend among seriously ill patients. The information available strongly suggests that in COVID-19 patients, their altered immune response, including a massive cytokine storm, is responsible for the further damage evidenced among ARDS patients. The increasingly high number of scientific articles and evidence available can only suggest that the individualization of each case is the norm, not all patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19 meet the Berlin definition and therefore ARDS should be considered as a heterogeneous disease, with a wide range in the expression of its severity and clinical manifestations.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0151.v2
Online: 22 April 2020 (09:46:54 CEST)
Human respiratory beta coronavirus are emerging causes for Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC). SARS-CoV2 is circulating worldwide since November 2019. We review here the cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in COVID-19, and data supporting the role for dysregulation of the RAS counterregulatory axis due to binding of SARS-CoV2 S protein to ACE2 receptor. Since this counterregulatory axis provides benefits not only on the cardiovascular front but also in acute lung injury, we speculate on potential use of ACE inhibitors and AT1R blockers in critically ill COVID-19 patients, and report current evidences.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0453.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: ARDS; VIP; Aviptadil; RLF-100; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Sepsis
Online: 20 July 2020 (03:46:11 CEST)
Purpose: To assess the clinical safety and possible effectiveness of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide in the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) related to sepsis. Methods: Under FDA Investigational New Drug clearance, 8 patients with ARDS related to sepsis were treated with 50 pmole/kg/hr – 100 pmole/kg/hr of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide by intravenous infusion for 12 hours. All patients were on mechanical ventilation and full telemetery. Results: No drug-related serious adverse events were seen. Hypotension was seen in association with two infusions and diarrhea in association with one, but did not necessitate cessation of therapy. Bigeminy was seen in association with one infusion without sequelae. Seven of eight patients demonstrated a successful course during intensive care and were successfully removed from mechanical ventilation and discharged from intensive care. The eighth patient succumbed to purulent secretions in the lungs. Of those who were discharged from the ICU, six demonstrated successful 30 day survival. The seventh died from a cerebral infract at day 30, deemed unrelated to treatment with VIP. Serum levels of Tumor Necrosis Factor α were obtained in 6 patients at baseline and 24 hours and were seen to decrease with treatment in five patients. Conclusions: Initial clinical results of treatment with VIP in patients with ARDS demonstrated a safety profile consistent with previous studies in normal volunteers. The successful clinical course seen in 7 of 8 patients in the setting of an expected 50% survival may suggest that VIP shows promise in the treatment of other infectious conditions that damage the pulmonary epithelium, particularly COVID-19.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0426.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Anesthesiology Keywords: COVID-19; ARDS; Adenosine; CT-scan; Cytokines Storm
Online: 19 July 2020 (19:31:13 CEST)
Some COVID-19 patients develop interstitial pneumonia that can evolve into Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). This is accompanied by an inflammatory cytokine storm. SarS-CoV has proteins capable of promoting cytokine storm, especially in patients with comorbidities, including obesity. Since there is currently no resolutive therapy for ARDS and given the scientific literature regarding the use of adenosine, its application has been hypothesized. Adenosine through its receptors is able to inhibit the acute inflammatory process, increase the protection capacity of the epithelial barrier and reduce the damage due to an overactivation of the immune system, such as in cytokine storms. These features are known in ischemia / reperfusion models and could also be exploited in acute lung injury, with hypoxia. In light of these hypotheses, for compassionate use, a COVID-19 patient, with unresponsive respiratory failure, was treated with adenosine. The results showed a rapid and clear improvement in clinical conditions, with the negative effect of detection of SarS-CoV2.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0275.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: COVID-19; ARDS; PEEP; mechanical ventilation; transpulmonary pressure
Online: 16 April 2020 (13:24:29 CEST)
With the emergence of COVID-19 we are confronted with a new clinical picture of acute respiratory distress syndrome in the intensive care unit. In the majority of patients, the respiratory mechanics are very different from the “normal” ARDS patient. We measured transpulmonary pressure and dead space ventilation to assess the effects of high and low PEEP levels on lung compliance and ventilation-perfusion mismatching. Advanced respiratory mechanics were assessed in 14 patients. Compared to ARDS patients, lung compliance was relatively high (61 ± 5 mL/cmH2O). COVID-19 patients had high dead space ventilation and gas exchange impairment (Bohr 52 ± 3%; Enghoff modification 67 ± 2%; ventilatory ratio 2.24 ± 0.23). we show that higher PEEP levels decrease lung compliance and in most cases increase dead space ventilation, indicating that high PEEP levels probably cause hyperinflation in patients with COVID-19. We suggest using prone position for an extended period of time, and apply lower PEEP levels as much as possible.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0569.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; respiratory failure; ARDS; ventilation; ECMO
Online: 24 July 2020 (04:44:14 CEST)
The rapidly evolving understanding of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) respiratory failure pathogenesis, limited disease-specific evidence and demand-resource imbalances have posed significant challenges for intensive care clinicians. In this single-centre retrospective cohort study we describe the outcomes of COVID-19 patients admitted to Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) critical care service. Patients were managed according to a local respiratory failure management pathway that was predicated on timely invasive ventilation when indicated and tailored ventilatory strategies according to pulmonary mechanics. Between 2nd March and 25th May 2020 GSTT critical care service admitted 316 patients with confirmed COVID-19. Of the 201 patients admitted directly through the Emergency Department with a completed critical care outcome, 71.1% survived to critical care discharge. These favourable outcomes may serve to inform the wider debate on the optimal ventilatory management in COVID-19.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0429.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: mechanical stress; vicious cycle; midkine; ARDS; GTEx
Online: 26 May 2020 (11:26:52 CEST)
The SARS-Cov-2 virus, which causes COVID 19, uses the cell surface protein ACE2 as receptor for entry into cells. Critically ill COVID-19 patients often require prolonged mechanical ventilation which can cause mechanical stress to lung tissue. In vitro studies have shown that expression of ACE2 in alveolar cells is increased following mechanical stretch and inflammation. Therefore, we analyzed transcriptome datasets of 480 (non-COVID-19) lung tissues in the GTex tissue gene expression database. We found that mechanical ventilation of the tissue donors increased the expression of ACE2 by more than two-fold (p<10-6). Analyses of transcriptomes of mechanically ventilated mice in the GEO database indicate that this alveolar cell response to stretch and inflammation is mediated by the chemokine midkine. Using a novel big knowledge network approach (SPOKE) we also found in transcriptomes of pharmacological perturbations (LINCS) that corticosteroids down-regulate midkine in pulmonal cells, and confirmed this in GEO transcriptomes of animal studies. Thus, mechanical ventilation of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia may eo ipso facilitate viral propagation in the lung, further accelerating the pulmonal pathology that has necessitated mechanical ventilation in the first place. This vicious cycle presents a rationale for the temporary treatment with corticosteroids to modulate the midkine-ACE2 axis in ventilated COVID19 patients and for gentler ventilation protocols.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0352.v1
Online: 29 June 2020 (10:40:07 CEST)
Mitochondria are classically termed as powerhouse of a mammalian cell. Most of the cellular chemical energy in the form of adenosine tri phosphate (ATP) is generated by mitochondria and dysregulation of mitochondrial functions thus can be potentially fatal of cellular homeostasis and health. Acute respiratory distress has been earlier linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. SARS-CoV-2 infection severity leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and can be fatal. We tried to investigate possible connection between SARS-CoV-2, ARDS and mitochondria. Here, we report identification of SARS-CoV-2 non-structural proteins (particularly Nsp12 and 13) that have recognition sequence with respect to mitochondrial entry. We also report that these proteins can potentially shuttle between cytoplasm and mitochondria based on the localization signals and help in downstream maintenance of the virus. Their properties to use ATP for enzymatic activities may cause ATP scavenging allowing viral RNA functions in lieu of host cell health.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0440.v1
Online: 23 August 2021 (13:23:05 CEST)
Although, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus – 2 (SARS-CoV 2) represents one of the biggest challenges in the world today, the exact immunopathogenic mechanism that leads to severe or critical Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has remained incompletely understood. Several studies have indicated that high systemic plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines result in the so-called “cytokine storm”, with subsequent development of microthrombosis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and multiorgan-failure. Therefore, we reasoned that elevated inflammatory cytokine might act as prognostic factors. Here, we analyzed 245 serum samples of patients with COVID-19, collected at hospital admission. We assessed the levels of heat shock protein 27 (HSP27), soluble suppressor of tumorigenicity- 2 (sST2), caspase cleaved cytokeratin 18 (cCK18), 20S proteasome, and tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNFR-1) and explored their associations with overall-, 30-, 60-, 90-day- and in-hospital mortality. Moreover, we investigated their association with the risk of ventilation. We demonstrated that increased serum sST2 was uni- and multivariably associated with all endpoints. However, we also identified 20S proteasome as independent prognostic factor for in-hospital mortality. Furthermore, elevated HSP27, sST2, and 20S proteasome levels at hospital admission were univariably associated with higher risk of invasive ventilation. These findings could help to identify high-risk patients early in the course of COVID-19.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0113.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; ARDS; bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF)
Online: 9 June 2020 (03:30:05 CEST)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), mainly affects the respiratory system with some patients rapidly progressing to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The most common symptoms of the patients are fever, cough, dyspnea, myalgia, and fatigue. Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab specimens tested by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are the most commonly used methods to diagnose COVID-19. Herein, we investigate and discuss a young case of COVID-19, without any pre-existing medical conditions, whose both nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab tests of SARS-CoV-2 were negative in the prodromal phase. However, after three days, with severe dyspnea and rapidly progressed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the case was identified as infected by COVID-19 by testing bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). The patient was intubated in the intensive care unit (ICU) but expired on the fourth day. This case shows the importance of active and accurate monitoring of the patients showing COVID-19 symptoms. Although the BALF test has a higher exposure risk, it is considered more accurate and recommended if performed by an expert operator.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0568.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Anesthesiology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; respiratory failure; ARDS; ventilation; MODS; ECMO
Online: 24 July 2020 (04:00:50 CEST)
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a significant surge of critically ill patients and an unprecedented demand on intensive care services. The rapidly evolving understanding of pathogenesis, limited disease specific evidence and demand-resource imbalances have posed significant challenges for intensive care clinicians. COVID-19 is a complex multisystem inflammatory vasculopathy with a significant mortality implication for those admitted to intensive care. Institutional strategic preparation and meticulous intensive care support are essential to maximising outcomes during the pandemic. The significant mortality variation observed between institutions and internationally, despite a single aetiology and uniform presentation, highlights the potential influence of management strategies on outcome. Given that optimal organ support and adjunctive therapies for COVID-19 have not yet been well defined by trial-based outcomes, strategies are predicated on existing literature and experiential learning. This review outlines the relevant pathophysiology and management strategies for critically ill patients with COVID-19, and shares some of the collective learning accumulated in a high volume Severe Respiratory Failure centre in London.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0341.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Oncology & Oncogenics Keywords: COVID-19; invasive ventilation; cancer; ICU; ONCOVID-ICU; Milano Policlinico; SOFA score; ARDS
Online: 16 July 2020 (04:17:32 CEST)
Over the last two months, as oncology specialists, we have frequently been contacted for estimating prognosis for cancer patients affected by COVID-19 infection. Until now, there have been no clear markers to guide decision making regarding the appropriateness of invasive ventilation in cancer patients affected by COVID-19 infection. Therefore, we developed a practical tool encompassing a prognostic score. We aimed at identifying a subgroup of patients likely to have a better outcome and therefore may be potential candidates for invasive ventilation, "The Milano Policlinico ONCOVID-ICU score". The score is composed by three groups of variables: patient’s characteristics such as sex, age, BMI and comorbidities; oncological variables (treatment intent, life expectancy, on or off-treatment status) and clinical parameters in association with laboratory values (SOFA score and D-dimer). The SOFA score includes six different clinical parameters and during the first few days of ICU admissions has an important prognostic role. The oncological history should never represent, per se, a contraindication to intensive care and must be considered together with other variables, such as laboratory values, clinical parameters and patient characteristics, in order to make the hardest but best possible choice. The Milano Policlinico ONCOVID-ICU score, to our knowledge, is the first prognostic score proposed in this setting of patients and may be a useful tool to assess the prognosis of cancer patients being in this critical condition.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0010.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: COVID-19; ARDS; Cytokine Storm; Spike S1 protein; SARS-CoV-2, Long COVID; ACE2; A549 cells; Caco-2 cells
Online: 1 June 2022 (09:49:27 CEST)
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began in Jan. 2020 in Wuhan, China with a new coronavirus designated SARS-CoV-2. The principle cause of death from COVID-19 disease quickly emerged as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). A key ARDS pathogenic mechanism is the “Cytokine Storm”. This is a dramatic increase in the blood of inflammatory cytokines. In the last 2 years of the pandemic new pathology has emerged in COVID-19 survivors in which a variety of long-term symptoms emerge. This condition is called “Long COVID”. The spike protein on the surface of the virus (target for the new mRNA/DNA vaccines) is composed of joined S1-S2 subunits. Upon S1 bind-ing to the human ACE2 receptor on cells, the S1 subunit is cleaved and the S2 subunit me-diates entry of the virus. The S1 protein is then released into the blood, which might be one of the pivotal triggers for initiation and/or perpetuation of the cytokine storm. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the spike S1 protein may activate inflammatory sig-naling and cytokine production independent of the virus. Our data support a potential role for spike S1 activation of inflammatory signaling and cytokine production in human lung and intestinal epithelial cells in culture. These data support a potential role for the SARS-CoV-2 spike S1 protein in COVID-19 pathogenesis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0619.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: monoclonal antibodies; ARDS; cytokine storm syndrome; inflammation
Online: 22 April 2021 (20:58:22 CEST)
Background: Cytokine storm in COVID-19 is heterogenous. There are at least three subtypes: cytokine release syndrome (CRS), macrophage activation syndrome (MAS), and sepsis. Methods: A retrospective study comprising 276 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. All patients were tested for ferritin, interleukin-6, D-Dimer, fibrinogen, calcitonin, and C-reactive protein. According to the diagnostic criteria, three groups of patients with different subtypes of cytokine storm syndrome were identified: MAS, CRS or sepsis. In each group, treatment results were assessed depending on whether or not tocilizumab was used. Results: MAS was diagnosed in 9.1% of the patients examined, CRS in 81.8%, and sepsis in 9.1%. Median serum ferritin in patients with MAS was significantly higher (5894 vs. 984 vs. 957 ng/ml, p <0.001) than in those with CRS or sepsis. Hypofibrinogenemia and pancytopenia were also observed in MAS patients. In CRS patients, a higher mortality rate was observed among those who received tocilizumab, 21 vs. 10 patients (p=0.043), RR = 2.1 (95% CI 1.0-4.3). In MAS patients, tocilizumab decreased the mortality, 13 vs. 6 patients (p=0.013), RR = 0.50 (95% CI 0.25-0.99). Сonclusions: Tocilizumab therapy in patients with COVID-19 and CRS was associated with increased mortality, while in MAS patients it contributed to reduced mortality.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0128.v1
Subject: Engineering, Biomedical & Chemical Engineering Keywords: ECMO; ECLS; ECCO2R; ARDS; respiratory failure, LTx, DIN EN ISO 7199; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, acute respiratory distress syndrome, animal model
Online: 8 December 2021 (14:16:25 CET)
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an established rescue therapy for patients with chronic respiratory failure waiting for lung transplantation (LTx). The therapy inherent immobilization may result in fatigue, consecutive deteriorated prognosis and even lost eligibility for transplantation. We conducted a feasibility study on a novel system designed for the deployment of a mobile ECMO device, enabling physical exercise of awake patients prior to LTx. The system comprises a novel mobile oxygenator with a directly connected blood pump, a double lumen cannula, gas blender and supply, as well as control, and energy management. In-vitro experiments included tests regarding performance, efficiency, and blood damage. A reduced system was tested in vivo for feasibility using a novel large animal model. Six anesthetized pigs were first positioned in supine position, followed by a 45° angle, simulating an upright position of the patients. We monitored performance and vital parameters. All in-vitro experiments showed good performance for the respective subsystems and the integrated system. The acute invivo trials of 8h duration confirmed the results. The novel mobile ECMO-system enables adequate oxygenation and decarboxylation sufficient for, e.g., physical exercise of designated LTx-recipients. These results are promising and suggest further preclinical studies on safety and efficacy to facilitate translation into clinical application.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0246.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nursing & Health Studies Keywords: swallowing; tracheostomy; dysphagia; TLI; COVID-19; ARDS; rehabilitation; physiotherapy
Online: 15 August 2022 (03:50:23 CEST)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, percutaneous tracheostomy proved to be an effective option in the management of patients with prolonged periods of intubation; in fact, among other things, it allowed early discharge from ICUs and contributed to reducing overcrowding in intensive care settings, a central critical point in the COVID pandemic. As a direct consequence, the management and the weaning of frail, tracheostomized and ventilated patients was diverted to sub-intensive or normal hospitalisation wards. One central challenge in this setting is the resumption of swallowing and oral feeding, which needs an interdisciplinary management involving Phoniatrician, ENT, Pneumologist and Speech Therapist. With this article, we aim to share the experience of a Swiss COVID-19 Center and to draw up a narrative review on the issues concerning the management of the tracheostomy cannula during swallowing resumption, integrating the most recent evidence from the literature with the clinical experiences of the professionals directly involved in the management of tracheostomized COVID-19 patients. In view of the heterogeneity of COVID-19 patients, we believe that the procedures described in the article are applicable to a larger population of patients undergoing tracheostomy weaning.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0448.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT); neutrophil elastase (NE); NETosis, PAD4, ARDS, COPD; neutrophils; COVID-19; TMPRSS2.
Online: 24 November 2022 (02:50:25 CET)
Excessive neutrophil influx and activation in lungs during infections, such as manifest during the ongoing SARS CoV-2 pandemic, have brought neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and the con-comitant release of granule contents that damage surrounding tissues into sharp focus. Neutro-phil proteases, which are known to participate in NET release, also enable the binding of the viral spike protein to cellular receptors and assist in the spread of infection. Blood and tissue fluids normally also contain liver-derived protease inhibitors that balance the activity of proteases. In-terestingly, neutrophils themselves also express the protease inhibitor alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), the product of the SERPINA-1 gene, and store it in neutrophil cytoplasmic granules. The absence of AAT or mutations in the SERPINA-1 gene promote lung remodeling and fibrosis in diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and increase the risk of allergic responses. Recent observations point to the fact that re-duced activity of AAT presents a major susceptibility factor for severe COVID-19. Here, we focus attention on the mechanism of neutrophil elastase (NE) in NET release and its inhibition by AAT as an additional factor that may determine the severity of COVID-19