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Archive for the ‘SAR-Cov-2 a vasculotropic (blood vessels) RNA Virus’ Category


COVID concern in Cardiology: Asymptomatic patients who have been previously infected demonstrating evidence on MRI of scarring or myocarditis

Reporters: Justin D. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

The Voice of Dr. Justin D. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC

Indeed, many viruses can cause inflammation and weakening of the heart.

So far there is no established action to take for prevention, and management is based on clinical manifestations of heart failure: shortness of breath, particularly if worse laying flat or worse with exertion, leg swelling (edema), blood tests showing elevated brain natriuretic peptide (BNP or proBNP, a marker of heart muscle strain), and a basic metabolic panel that may show “pre-renal azotemia” (elevation of BUN and Creatinine, typically in a ratio >20:1) and/or hyponatremia (sodium concentration below 135 mEq/dL). If any of the above are suspected, it is reasonable to get transthoracic echocardiography for systolic and diastolic function. If either systolic or diastolic function by ultrasound show significant impairment not improved by usual therapy (diuretic, ACEI/ARB/ARNI, blocker, aldosterone inhibitor e.g. spironolactone) then an MRI scar map may be considered (MRI scar maps show retention of gadolinium contrast agent by injured heart muscle, first demonstrated by Dr. Justin Pearlman during angiogenesis research MRI studies).

There is no controversy in the above, the controversy is a rush to expanded referral for cardiac MRI without clear clinical evidence of heart impairment, at a stage when there is no established therapy for possible detection of myocarditis (cardiac inflammation). General unproven measures for inflammation may include taking ginger and tumeric supplements if well tolerated by the stomach, drinking 2 cups/day of Rooibos Tea if well tolerated by the liver.

Canakinumab was recommended by one research group to treat inflammation and risk to the heart if the blood test hsCRP is elevated (in addition to potential weakening of muscle, inflammation activates complement, makes atherosclerosis lesions unstable, and thus may elevate risk of heart attack, stroke, renal failure or limb loss from blocked blood delivery). The canakinumab studies were published in NEJM and LANCET with claims of significant improvement in outcomes, but that was not approved by FDA or confirmed by other groups, even though it has biologic plausibility. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-67361732247-X/fulltext

 

Some Heart Societies Agree on Cautions for COVID-Myocarditis Screening

— Official response has been modest, though

Such evidence of myocardial injury and inflammation on CMR turned up in a German study among people who recovered from largely mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 compared with healthy controls and risk factor-matched controls.

Then an Ohio State University study showed CMR findings suggestive of myocarditis in 15% of collegiate athletes after asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection.

But an open letter from some 50 medical professionals across disciplines emphasized that “prevalence, clinical significance and long-term implications” of such findings aren’t known. The letter called on the 18 professional societies to which it was sent on Tuesday to release clear guidance against CMR screening in the general population to look for post-COVID heart damage in the absence of symptoms.

The Society for Cardiac Magnetic Resonance quickly responded with a brief statement from its chief executive officer, Chiara Bucciarelli-Ducci, MD, PhD, agreeing that routine CMR in asymptomatic patients after COVID-19 “is currently not justified… and it should not be encouraged.”

She referred clinicians to the multisociety guidelines on clinical indications of CMR when deciding whether to scan COVID-19 patients. “While CMR is an excellent imaging tool for diagnosing myocarditis in patients with suspected disease, we do not recommend its use in patients without symptoms,” she added.

The American Heart Association didn’t put out any written statement but offered spokesperson Manesh Patel, MD, chair of its Diagnostic and Interventional Cath Committee.

“The American Heart Association’s position on this is that in general we agree that routine cardiac MRI should not be conducted unless in the course of a study” for COVID-19 patients, he said. “There’s a lot of evolving information around people with COVID, and certainly asymptomatic status, whether it’s recent or prior, it’s not clearly known what the MRI findings will mean or what the long-term implications are without both a control group and an understanding around population.”

The ACC opted against taking a stand. It provided MedPage Today with the following statement from ACC President Athena Poppas, MD:

“We appreciate the authors’ concerns about the potential mischaracterization of the long-term impact of myocarditis after a COVID-19 diagnosis and the need for well-designed clinical trials and careful, long term follow-up. The pandemic is requiring everyone make real-time decisions on how to best care for heart disease patients who may be impacted by COVID-19. The ACC is committed to helping synthesize and provide the most up-to-date, high quality information possible to the cardiovascular care team. We will continue to review and assess the scientific data surrounding cardiac health and COVID-19 and issue guidance to help our care team.”

While the open letter noted that some post-COVID patients have been asking for CMR, Walsh noted that primary care would likely see the brunt of any such influx. She personally has not had any patients ask to be screened.

SOURCE

https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/88704?xid=nl_covidupdate_2020-09-21

Effect of interleukin-1β inhibition with canakinumab on incident lung cancer in patients with atherosclerosis: exploratory results from a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Summary

Background

Inflammation in the tumour microenvironment mediated by interleukin 1β is hypothesised to have a major role in cancer invasiveness, progression, and metastases. We did an additional analysis in the Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study (CANTOS), a randomised trial of the role of interleukin-1β inhibition in atherosclerosis, with the aim of establishing whether inhibition of a major product of the Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome with canakinumab might alter cancer incidence.

Methods

We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of canakinumab in 10 061 patients with atherosclerosis who had had a myocardial infarction, were free of previously diagnosed cancer, and had concentrations of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) of 2 mg/L or greater. To assess dose–response effects, patients were randomly assigned by computer-generated codes to three canakinumab doses (50 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg, subcutaneously every 3 months) or placebo. Participants were followed up for incident cancer diagnoses, which were adjudicated by an oncology endpoint committee masked to drug or dose allocation. Analysis was by intention to treat. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.govNCT01327846. The trial is closed (the last patient visit was in June, 2017).

Findings

Baseline concentrations of hsCRP (median 6·0 mg/L vs 4·2 mg/L; p<0·0001) and interleukin 6 (3·2 vs 2·6 ng/L; p<0·0001) were significantly higher among participants subsequently diagnosed with lung cancer than among those not diagnosed with cancer. During median follow-up of 3·7 years, compared with placebo, canakinumab was associated with dose-dependent reductions in concentrations of hsCRP of 26–41% and of interleukin 6 of 25–43% (p<0·0001 for all comparisons). Total cancer mortality (n=196) was significantly lower in the pooled canakinumab group than in the placebo group (p=0·0007 for trend across groups), but was significantly lower than placebo only in the 300 mg group individually (hazard ratio [HR] 0·49 [95% CI 0·31–0·75]; p=0·0009). Incident lung cancer (n=129) was significantly less frequent in the 150 mg (HR 0·61 [95% CI 0·39–0·97]; p=0·034) and 300 mg groups (HR 0·33 [95% CI 0·18–0·59]; p<0·0001; p<0·0001 for trend across groups). Lung cancer mortality was significantly less common in the canakinumab 300 mg group than in the placebo group (HR 0·23 [95% CI 0·10–0·54]; p=0·0002) and in the pooled canakinumab population than in the placebo group (p=0·0002 for trend across groups). Fatal infections or sepsis were significantly more common in the canakinumab groups than in the placebo group. All-cause mortality did not differ significantly between the canakinumab and placebo groups (HR 0·94 [95% CI 0·83–1·06]; p=0·31).

Interpretation

Our hypothesis-generating data suggest the possibility that anti-inflammatory therapy with canakinumab targeting the interleukin-1β innate immunity pathway could significantly reduce incident lung cancer and lung cancer mortality. Replication of these data in formal settings of cancer screening and treatment is required.

Funding

Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

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Bradykinin Hypothesis: Potential Explanation for COVID-19

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

UPDATED on 9/14/2020

First Randomized Trial Backs Safety of ACE and ARB Heart Drugs in COVID-19 Patients

BRACE CORONA trial presented in a Hot Line Session at ESC Congress 2020

September 8, 2020 – Heart patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) can safely continue taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), according to the BRACE CORONA trial presented in a Hot Line session at the virtual European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2020.[1]

ACE inhibitors and ARBs are commonly taken by heart patients to reduce blood pressure and to treat heart failure. There is conflicting observational evidence about the potential clinical impact of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on patients with COVID-19.[2] Select preclinical investigations have raised concerns about their safety in patients with COVID-19. Preliminary data hypothesize that renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors could benefit patients with COVID-19 by decreasing acute lung damage and preventing angiotensin-II-mediated pulmonary inflammation.

Given the frequent use of these agents worldwide, randomized clinical trial evidence is urgently needed to guide the management of patients with COVID-19.

SOURCE

https://www.dicardiology.com/content/first-randomized-trial-backs-safety-ace-and-arb-heart-drugs-covid-19-patients

Related ACE and ARB Content Related to COVID-19:

ESC Council on Hypertension Says ACE-I and ARBs Do Not Increase COVID-19 Mortality

AHA Explains Severe COVID-19 is Closely Associated With Heart Issues

 

The Voice of Dr. Justin D. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC

Justin D. Pearlman, MD, PhD, FACC – Scientific Expert & Key Opinion Leader on Cardiovascular Diseases, Cardiac Imaging & Complex Diagnosis in Cardiology: Senior Editor & Author

The BRACE CORONA TRIAL compared outcomes for COVID19 patients previously on ACE inhibitor or ARB of holding the medication for a month, or not, and saw no significant benefit from withholding either class of medication. The basis for specific concern is the fact that the COVID19 virus utilizes ACE2 receptors for its invasion, and that disturbances in the renin-angiotensin and bradykinin levels and capillary leak have been observed with COVID19 infections. ACEI and ARB medications both modulate the renin angiotensin system, but with different impact on bradykinin levels. Changes in bradykinin levels cause for dry cough seen with ACE inhibitors like lisinopril that are not seen with angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) such as Losartan. The absence of significant differences in outcome measures by holding either drug weakens the Jacobson’s bradykinin hypothesis based on a cascade of observations related to the ACE2 receptor and downstream effects. The new observations on safety of both ACEI and ARB weaken Jacobson’s hypothesis of a primary importance of renin angiotensin and bradykinin changes in the course and complications of COVID19 infection.

The ACE gene product degrades bradykinin. Jacobson’s bradykinin hypothesis suggested that the observations of capillary leak and disturbances in the renal angiotensin system may be prime factors rather than bystanders. Jacobson made strong statements from associations, but the lack of impact of stoppage of either ACE inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB) argues that his observations are not major in determination of outcomes.

Bradykinin Hypothesis: Potential Explanation for COVID-19

The entry point for the virus is ACE2, which is a component of the counteracting hypotensive axis of RAS. Bradykinin is a potent part of the vasopressor system that induces hypotension and vasodilation and is degraded by ACE and enhanced by the angiotensin1-9 produced by ACE2.

critical imbalance in RAS represented by decreased expression of ACE in combination with increases in ACE2, renin, angiotensin, key RAS receptors, kinogen and many kallikrein enzymes that activate it, and both bradykinin receptors. This very atypical pattern of the RAS is predicted to elevate bradykinin levels in multiple tissues and systems that will likely cause increases in vascular dilation, vascular permeability and hypotension. These bradykinin-driven outcomesexplain many of the symptoms being observed in COVID-19.

Jacobson says, “What we’ve found is that the imbalance in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) pathway that appeared to be present in Covid-19 patients could be responsible for constantly resensitizing bradykinin receptors. So, this imbalance in the RAS pathways will take the brakes off the bottom of the bradykinin pathway at the receptor level. In addition, the downregulation of the ACE gene in Covid-19 patients, which usually degrades bradykinin, is another key imbalance in the regulation of bradykinin levels. We have also observed that the key negative regulator at the top of the bradykinin pathway is dramatically down-regulated. Thus, you likely have an increase in bradykin production as well, stopping many of the braking mechanisms usually in place, so the bradykinin signal spirals out of control.”

The bradykinin hypothesis also extends to many of Covid-19’s effects on the heart. About one in five hospitalized Covid-19 patients have damage to their hearts, even if they never had cardiac issues before. Some of this is likely due to the virus infecting the heart directly through its ACE2 receptors. But the RAS also controls aspects of cardiac contractions and blood pressure. According to the researchers, bradykinin storms could create arrhythmias and low blood pressure, which are often seen in Covid-19 patients.

“the pathology of Covid-19 is likely the result of Bradykinin Storms rather than cytokine storms,” which had been previously identified in Covid-19 patients, but that “the two may be intricately linked.”

According to Jacobson and his team, MRI studies in France revealed that many Covid-19 patients have evidence of leaky blood vessels in their brains.

bradykinin would indeed be likely to increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. In addition, similar neurological symptoms have been observed in other diseases that result from an excess of bradykinin.”

Increased bradykinin levels could also account for other common Covid-19 symptoms. ACE inhibitors — a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure — have a similar effect on the RAS system as Covid-19, increasing bradykinin levels. In fact, Jacobson and his team note in their paper that “the virus… acts pharmacologically as an ACE inhibitor” — almost directly mirroring the actions of these drugs.

SOURCE

https://elifesciences.org/articles/59177?utm_source=Unknown+List&utm_campaign=7a5785d58d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_27_02_37&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-7a5785d58d-

Potential therapeutic development path is to

  • repurpose existing FDA approved drugs such as Danazol, Stanasolol, Icatibant, Ecallantide, Berinert, Cynryze, Haegarda, etc.. to reduce the amount of bradykinin signaling to prevent the escalation of the bradykinin storm.
  • Partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and clinical research are needed to design and implement the right clinical trials to see how these types of treatments can be applied.
  • Systems biology perspective and think that attempts to inhibit the virus itself will also probably require a combinatorial strategy it’s possible that we will need a combinatorial approach to therapies both on the human side and on the viral side
  • Other compounds could treat symptoms associated with bradykinin storms. Hymecromone, for example, could reduce hyaluronic acid levels, potentially stopping deadly hydrogels from forming in the lungs. And timbetasin could mimic the mechanism that the researchers believe protects women from more severe Covid-19 infections

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2020/08/05/your-lungs-can-fill-up-with-jell-o-scientists-discover-a-new-pathway-for-covid-19-inflammatory-response/#7a80ff4c24be

 

A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged

A closer look at the Bradykinin hypothesis

Thomas Smith Sep 1, 2020

Earlier this summer, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee set about crunching data on more than 40,000 genes from 17,000 genetic samples in an effort to better understand Covid-19. Summit is the second-fastest computer in the world, but the process — which involved analyzing 2.5 billion genetic combinations — still took more than a week.

When Summit was done, researchers analyzed the results. It was, in the words of Dr. Daniel Jacobson, lead researcher and chief scientist for computational systems biology at Oak Ridge, a “eureka moment.” The computer had revealed a new theory about how Covid-19 impacts the body: the bradykinin hypothesis. The hypothesis provides a model that explains many aspects of Covid-19, including some of its most bizarre symptoms. It also suggests 10-plus potential treatments, many of which are already FDA approved. Jacobson’s group published their results in a paper in the journal eLife in early July.

According to the team’s findings, a Covid-19 infection generally begins when the virus enters the body through ACE2 receptors in the nose, (The receptors, which the virus is known to target, are abundant there.) The virus then proceeds through the body, entering cells in other places where ACE2 is also present: the intestines, kidneys, and heart. This likely accounts for at least some of the disease’s cardiac and GI symptoms.

https://elemental.medium.com/a-supercomputer-analyzed-covid-19-and-an-interesting-new-theory-has-emerged-31cb8eba9d63

Researchers Use Supercomputers To Discover New Pathway For Covid-19 Inflammation

COGNITIVE WORLD

A mechanistic model and therapeutic interventions for COVID-19 involving a RAS-mediated bradykinin storm

  1. Michael R Garvin
  2. Christiane Alvarez
  3. J Izaak Miller
  4. Erica T Prates
  5. Angelica M Walker
  6. B Kirtley Amos
  7. Alan E Mast
  8. Amy Justice
  9. Bruce Aronow
  10. Daniel JacobsonIs a corresponding author
  1. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Biosciences Division, United States
  2. University of Tennessee Knoxville, The Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, United States
  3. University of Kentucky, Department of Horticulture, United States
  4. Versiti Blood Research Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin, United States
  5. VA Connecticut Healthcare/General Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, United States
  6. University of Cincinnati, United States
  7. Biomedical Informatics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, United States
  8. University of Tennessee Knoxville, Department of Psychology, Austin Peay Building, United States

Abstract

Neither the disease mechanism nor treatments for COVID-19 are currently known. Here, we present a novel molecular mechanism for COVID-19 that provides therapeutic intervention points that can be addressed with existing FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. The entry point for the virus is ACE2, which is a component of the counteracting hypotensive axis of RAS. Bradykinin is a potent part of the vasopressor system that induces hypotension and vasodilation and is degraded by ACE and enhanced by the angiotensin1-9 produced by ACE2.Here, we perform a new analysis on gene expression data from cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from COVID-19 patients that were used to sequence the virus. Comparison with BALF from controls identifies a critical imbalance in RAS represented by decreased expression of ACE in combination with increases in ACE2, renin, angiotensin, key RAS receptors, kinogen and many kallikrein enzymes that activate it, and both bradykinin receptors. This very atypical pattern of the RAS is predicted to elevate bradykinin levels in multiple tissues and systems that will likely cause increases in vascular dilation, vascular permeability and hypotension. These bradykinin-driven outcomes explain many of the symptoms being observed in COVID-19.

https://elifesciences.org/articles/59177?utm_source=Unknown+List&utm_campaign=7a5785d58d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_27_02_37&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-7a5785d58d-

Short Report 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2020/08/05/your-lungs-can-fill-up-with-jell-o-scientists-discover-a-new-pathway-for-covid-19-inflammatory-response/#7a80ff4c24be

A hypothesized role for dysregulated bradykinin signaling in COVID‐19 respiratory complications

1 Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit MI, USA,
2 College of Health and Human Services, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti MI, USA,
Joseph A. Roche, ude.enyaw@ehcor.hpesoj.
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
*Correspondence
Joseph A. Roche, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, 259 Mack Ave., Detroit, MI 48201, USA.
Email: ude.enyaw@ehcor.hpesoj,

Abstract

As of April 20, 2020, over time, the COVID‐19 pandemic has resulted in 157 970 deaths out of 2 319 066 confirmed cases, at a Case Fatality Rate of ~6.8%. With the pandemic rapidly spreading, and health delivery systems being overwhelmed, it is imperative that safe and effective pharmacotherapeutic strategies are rapidly explored to improve survival. In this paper, we use established and emerging evidence to propose a testable hypothesis that, a vicious positive feedback loop of des‐Arg(9)‐bradykinin‐ and bradykinin‐mediated inflammation → injury → inflammation, likely precipitates life threatening respiratory complications in COVID‐19. Through our hypothesis, we make the prediction that the FDA‐approved molecule, icatibant, might be able to interrupt this feedback loop and, thereby, improve the clinical outcomes. This hypothesis could lead to basic, translational, and clinical studies aimed at reducing COVID‐19 morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: bradykinin, bradykinin receptor, coronavirus, icatibant, inflammation, injury

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7267506/

 

 

Kallikrein-kinin blockade in patients with COVID-19 to prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome

Frank L van de Veerdonk1*, Mihai G Netea1,2, Marcel van Deuren1,

Jos WM van der Meer1, Quirijn de Mast1, Roger J Bru¨ggemann3,

Hans van der Hoeven4

van de Veerdonk et al. eLife 2020;9:e57555. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.57555 1 of 9

Abstract

COVID-19 patients can present with pulmonary edema early in disease. We propose that this is due to a local vascular problem because of activation of bradykinin 1 receptor (B1R) and B2R on endothelial cells in the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 enters the cell via ACE2 that next to its role in RAAS is needed to inactivate des-Arg9 bradykinin, the potent ligand of the B1R. Without ACE2 acting as a guardian to inactivate the ligands of B1R, the lung environment is prone for local vascular leakage leading to angioedema. Here, we hypothesize that a kinin-dependent local lung angioedema via B1R and eventually B2R is an important feature of COVID-19. We propose that blocking the B2R and inhibiting plasma kallikrein activity might have an ameliorating effect on early disease caused by COVID-19 and might prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In addition, this pathway might indirectly be responsive to anti-inflammatory agents.

 

Kinins and cytokines in COVID-19: a comprehensive pathophysiological approach

Frank L. van de Veerdonk1*, Mihai G. Netea1,2, Marcel van Deuren1, Jos W.M. van der Meer1, Quirijn de Mast1, Roger J. Brüggemann3, Hans van der Hoeven4

doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0023.v1

Abstract

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 antiinflammatory 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.

 

Emerging Pandemic Diseases: How We Got to COVID-19

David M. Morens1,* and Anthony S. Fauci1

1Office of the Director, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

*Correspondence: dm270q@nih.gov

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.021

SUMMARY

Infectious diseases prevalent in humans and animals are caused by pathogens that once emerged from other animal hosts. In addition to these established infections, new infectious diseases periodically emerge. In extreme cases they may cause pandemics such as COVID-19; in other cases, dead-end infections or smaller epidemics result. Established diseases may also re-emerge, for example by extending geographically or by becoming more transmissible or more pathogenic. Disease emergence reflects dynamic balances and imbalances, within complex globally distributed ecosystems comprising humans, animals, pathogens, and the environment. Understanding these variables is a necessary step in controlling future devastating disease emergences.

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Why Blood Clots Are a Major Problem in Severe COVID-19

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

  • Clotting in uninjured blood vessels is a common occurrence in hospital patients, especially those in the intensive care unit.

  • In a July report in the journal Blood, Al-Samkari and colleagues found that nearly 10 percent of 400 people hospitalized for Covid-19 developed clots. In a February report by researchers in China, about 70 percent of people who died of Covid-19 had widespread clotting, while few survivors did.
  • people who died of Covid-19 were nine times as likely to be speckled with tiny clots as those of people who died of influenza
  • SARS-CoV-2 infects and damages the cells lining blood vessels, it could expose the tissue underneath
  • clotting results from inflammation. And here, many experts are eyeing a set of proteins called the complement system
  • These proteins, known collectively as complement, attack invaders and call in other parts of the immune system to assist. They also can activate platelets and promote clotting.
  • Claudia Kemper1,2,3 said “complementologists think that this is a massive part of the disease”  signs of complement activity in the lungs and livers of people who died from Covid-19
  • Laurence found several active complement proteins in the skin and blood vessels of his early Covid-19 clotting cases
  • a New York team found that patients were more likely to become very ill and die if they had a history of clotting or bleeding, or if they had macular degeneration, which can indicate complement problems.
  • Genes involved in complement and clotting responses were more active when the virus was present in patients’ nasal swabs.
  • immune element may promote clotting in severe Covid-19 cases: an overreaction called a cytokine storm, in which the body releases an excess of inflammation-promoting cytokine molecules.
  • Body’s response in need of control: (1) control the clotting, (2) control the inflammation, (2) control the complement pathway in tandem with antiviral Remdesivir that controls the viral replication thus the viral load.
  • Balance the risk of clotting with the danger of bleeding (bleeds into the digestive system for these patients, but they may also hemorrhage in the lungs, brain or spots where medical devices pierce the skin)
  • Dosage of blood thinners is debated – 40 Studies found for: anticoagulation | Covid19
    Also searched for COVID and SARS-CoV-2See Search Details
  • there is no evidence that people with less severe Covid-19, who do not require hospitalization, should take blood thinners or aspirin to ward off clots.
  • Management of Clotting: Argatroban, for example, is a Food and Drug Administration-approved anticoagulant that interferes with thrombin, an element of the clotting cascade. Eculizumab, which blocks one of the complement proteins, is approved for certain inflammatory conditions.
  • Clinical judgement is used in light of lack of evidence

 

SOURCES

Why Blood Clots Are a Major Problem in Severe Covid-19

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-blood-clots-are-major-problem-severe-covid-19-180975678/

Complement and the Regulation of T Cell Responses

Annual Review of Immunology

Vol. 36:309-338 (Volume publication date April 2018)
https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-immunol-042617-053245

Complement Dysregulation and Disease: Insights from Contemporary Genetics

M. Kathryn Liszewski,1 Anuja Java,2

Elizabeth C. Schramm,3 and John P. Atkinson1

1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110; email: j.p.atkinson@wustl.edu

2Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110

3Serion Inc., St. Louis, Missouri 63108

 

Keywords

atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, age-related macular degeneration,

alternative complement pathway, C3 glomerulopathies, factor H, CD46,

factor I, C3, factor B

Abstract

The vertebrate complement system consists of sequentially interacting proteins that provide for a rapid and powerful host defense. Nearly 60 proteins comprise three activation pathways (classical, alternative, and lectin) and a terminal cytolytic pathway common to all. Attesting to its potency, nearly half of the system’s components are engaged in its regulation. An emerging theme over the past decade is that variations in these inhibitors predispose to two scourges of modern humans. One, occurring most often in childhood, is a rare but deadly thrombomicroangiopathy called atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. The other, age-related macular degeneration, is the most common form of blindness in the elderly. Their seemingly unrelated clinical presentations and pathologies share the common theme of overactivity of the complement system’s alternative pathway. This review summarizes insights gained from contemporary genetics for understanding how dysregulation of this powerful innate immune system leads to these human diseases.

CONCLUSIONS AND PERSPECTIVES

Over the last decade, a remarkable advance has been the elucidation of the role of mutations in complement regulators and components in aHUS, AMD, and C3G. Next-generation sequencing has led theway to these discoveries, but functional assessments are the critical factors in definitively associating pathogenesis with genetic variants.

Most exciting has been the development and approval by the FDA of the monoclonal antibody, eculizumab, as the new standard of care for treatment of aHUS. Challenges remain, however because eculizumab is costly and the duration of treatment remains uncertain and warrants further prospective studies. The use of eculizumab in C3G should also be prospectively addressed.

Furthermore, given the increasing number of mutations in the complement regulatory proteins identified in aHUS and C3G and the heterogeneity in the mechanisms leading to dysregulation of the AP, there is a need for further assessment of the genetic variants of unknown significance. As yet, no complement inhibitor has been approved to treat AMD.

These analyses coupled with the anticipated new developments of complement therapeutics will help establish patient-tailored therapies based on each patient’s specific alteration. The future holds much promise for the further delineation of complement-disease associations and for novel complement-targeted therapeutic agents.

SOURCE

Annu. Rev. Pathol. Mech. Dis. 2017. 12:25–52

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-pathol-012615-044145

 

 

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following: 

 

Is SARS-COV2 Hijacking the Complement and Coagulation Systems?

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/08/04/is-sars-cov2-hijacking-the-complement-and-coagulation-systems/

 

New Etiology for COVID-19: Death results from Immune-Mediation (virus-independent immunopathology: lung and reticuloendothelial system) vs Pathogen-Mediation causing Organ Dysfunction & Hyper-Inflammation – Immunomodulatory Therapeutic Approaches (dexamethasone)

Curators: Stephen J. Williams and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/07/12/new-etiology-for-covid-19-death-results-from-immune-mediation-virus-independent-immunopathology-lung-and-reticuloendothelial-system-vs-pathogen-mediation-causing-organ-dysfunction-hyper-infl/

Corticosteroid, Dexamethasone Improves Survival in COVID-19: Deaths reduction by 1/3 in ventilated patients and by 1/5 in other patients receiving oxygen only

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – bold face and color fonts added

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/06/27/corticosteroid-dexamethasone-improves-survival-in-covid-19-deaths-reduction-by-1-3-in-ventilated-patients-and-by-1-5-in-other-patients-receiving-oxygen-only/

SAR-Cov-2 is probably a vasculotropic RNA virus affecting the blood vessels: Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – Bold face and colors are my addition

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2020/06/01/sar-cov-2-is-probably-a-vasculotropic-rna-virus-affecting-the-blood-vessels-endothelial-cell-infection-and-endotheliitis-in-covid-19/

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Contagious

We are in the midst of a pandemic that is impacting people and society in ways that are hard to grasp. The most apparent impact is on physical health. It also effects our attitudes in society, our economy and our cultural life. Throughout history, humanity has had to face the challenge of understanding, managing and fighting viruses.

In the exhibition Contagious we are highlighting Nobel Prize-awarded researchers who have expanded our knowledge about viruses, mapped our immune system and developed vaccines. We also examine the perspectives from Literature and Economics Laureates about the impact of epidemics on life and society. Visit us at the museum or on these pages.

Museums have an important role to play in times of crisis, since they can help people tackle existential questions and provide a broader context. The Nobel Museum is about ideas that have changed the world. The Nobel Prize points to the ability of humans to find solutions to difficult challenges that we face time and time again. It is a source of hope, even in the midst of the crisis.

SOURCE

Nobel Prize Museum

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/whats-on/contagious/?utm_content=contagious_text

Coronavirus

On March 11 this year, the World Health Organization announced that the spread of the coronavirus should be classified as a pandemic, that is “an infectious disease that spreads to large parts of the world and affects a large proportion of the population of each country”. Today, nobody knows how many will die in this pandemic, or when, or if, we can have a vaccine against the disease.

SARS-CoV-2, or Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, is an RNA virus from the family coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease covid-19.

The virus was detected at the end of last year in the Wuhan sub-province of China, and in most cases causes milder disease symptoms that disappear within two weeks. But sometimes, especially in certain groups such as the elderly and people with certain other underlying illnesses, the infection becomes more severe and can in some cases lead to death.

The virus is believed to have zoonotic origin, that is, it has been transmitted to humans from another animal. Where the origin of the disease comes from, that is to say from which host animal the virus originates, is still unknown. However, the virus has close genetic similarity to a corona virus carried by some bats, which might indicate where the virus comes from.

This model shows the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the illness covid-19. The globe-shaped envelope has a membrane of fat-like substances. Inside the envelope are proteins bound to RNA molecules, that contain the virus’s genes. Short spikes of proteins and longer spikes of glycoprotein stick out of the envelope and attach to receptors on the surface of attacked cells. The spikes, which are bigger at the top, give the virus its appearance reminiscent of the Sun’s corona. This where the coronavirus’s name comes from.

Testing is an important tool for tracking and preventing the spread of infection during an epidemic.

One type of test looks at if a person is infected by looking for traces of the virus’s RNA genetic material. The test is taken using a swab stick inserted into the throat. The small amounts of RNA or DNA that attach to the swab are analyzed using the PCR technique, which was invented by Kary Mullis in 1983. Ten years later he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Another type of test looks for antibodies to the virus in the blood. This indicates that the person has had the disease.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/coronavirus/

The first virus ever discovered

We have understood since the 19th century that many diseases are caused by microscopic bacteria that cannot be seen by the naked eye. It turned out that there were even smaller contagions: viruses. Research on viruses has been recognized with several Nobel Prizes.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/the-first-virus-ever-discovered/

Spanish flu

The worst pandemic of the 20th century was the Spanish flu, which swept across the world 1918–1920.

The Spanish flu was caused by an influenza virus. American soldiers at military facilities at the end of World War I were likely an important source of its spread in Europe. The war had just ended, and the pandemic claimed even more lives than the war. Between 50 and 100 million people died in the pandemic.

The Red Cross, an international aid organization, which received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts during the war, also took part in fighting the Spanish flu. International Committee of the Red Cross received the prize in 1917, 1944 and 1963.

This photo shows personnel from the Red Cross providing transportation for people suffering from the Spanish flu in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/spanish-flu/

Polio

Polio is an illness that often affects children and young people and that can lead to permanent paralysis.

Polio is a highly infectious RNA virus belonging to the genus Enterovirus. The virus only infects humans and enters the body via droplets such as sneezing and coughing, or through contact with infected people’s feces. Usually, polio infects our respiratory and intestinal tract, but sometimes the virus spreads to the spinal cord and can then cause paralysis. The virus mainly affects children, but most of those infected show no or very mild symptoms.

Vaccines are a way to help our immune system fight viruses. The immune system is the body’s defence mechanism against attacks from viruses and bacteria. A number of Nobel Laureates have researched the immune system and contributed to the development of vaccines.

Hepatitis B

The virus can infect people without them becoming sick. Discoveries in the 1960s enabled both vaccines and tests to prevent the spread.

Hepatitis B can infect humans and apes, and is most common in West Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease also occurs in the rest of Africa, as well as in areas from the Caspian Sea through to China and Korea and further down to Southeast Asia.

Baruch Blumberg discovered the virus behind hepatitis B and developed a vaccine against the disease.

There are many varieties of hepatitis, or jaundice, that cause inflammation in the liver. When studying blood proteins from people from different parts of the world at the end of the 1960s, Baruch Blumberg unexpectedly discovered an infectious agent for hepatitis B. He showed that the infectious agent was linked to a virus of previously unknown type. The virus can infect people without them becoming sick. The discoveries enabled both vaccines and tests to prevent the spread through blood transfusions.

Baruch Blumberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1976. He has summarized what the Nobel Prize meant to him.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/hepatitis-b/

Yellow fever

Each year, Yellow fever causes about 30,000 deaths. The vaccine against yellow fever was produced in the 1930s. A work awarded the Nobel Prize.

Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by a virus that is spread by mosquitos in tropical areas of Africa and South America.

Each year, Yellow fever causes about 200,000 infections and 30,000 deaths. About 90% of the cases occur in Africa. The disease is common in warm, tropical climates such as South America and Africa, but it is not found in Asia.

You may think that the number of people infected would be decreasing, but since the 1980s the number of yellow fever cases has unfortunately increased. This is believed to be due to the fact that more and more people are living in cities, that we are traveling more than before, and an increased climate impact.

Since there is no cure for the disease, preventive vaccination is a very important measure. Max Theiler successfully infected mice with a virus in the 1930s, which opened the door to more in-depth studies. When the virus was transferred between mice, a weakened form of the virus was created that gave monkeys immunity. In 1937, Theiler was able to develop an even weaker version of the virus. This version could be used as a vaccine for people.

Max Theiler was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/yellow-fever/

HIV/AIDS

In the early 1980s, reports began to emerge about young men that suffered from unusual infections and cancers that normally only affect patients with weakened immune systems. It turned out to be a previously unknown epidemic, HIV, which spread rapidly across the world.

HIV, which is an abbreviation of human immunodeficiency virus, is a sexually transmitted retrovirus that attacks our immune system. An untreated infection eventually leads to AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. In 2008, French scientists Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the detection of human immunodeficiency virus.

Watch the interview where Françoise Barré-Sinoussi talks about what it is like to meet patients affected by the virus she discovered.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/hiv-aids/

 

Viruses captured in photos

Viruses are incredibly small and cannot be seen in normal microscopes.

The electron microscope, which was invented by Ernst Ruska and Max Knoll in 1933, made it possible to take pictures of much smaller objects than was previously possible. Ernst Ruska’s brother, Helmut Ruska, was a doctor and biologist, and used early electron microscopes to make images of viruses and other small objects. The tobacco mosaic virus was the first virus captured on film. The development of the electron microscope has enabled increasingly better images to be taken.

Ernst Ruska was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Röhrer, who developed the scanning electron microscope.

Read more about Ernst Ruska – his life and research. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1986/ruska/facts/

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/viruses-captured-in-photos/

 

Epidemics and literature

When epidemics and pandemics strike the world, it isn’t just the physical health of people that are impacted but also ways of life, thoughts and feelings. Nobel Laureates in literature have been effected by epidemics and written about life under real and fictive epidemics.

The coronavirus crisis has had a dramatic impact on our lives and our view of our lives. Olga Tokarczuk is one of the authors who has reflected on this.

Tokarczuk argues that the coronavirus has swept away the illusion that we are the masters of creation and that we can do anything since the world belongs to us. She wonders if the pandemic has forced us into a slower, more natural rhythm in life, but also worries about how it may increase distrust of strangers and worsen inequality among people.

Orhan Pamuk has worked for many years on a novel about a bubonic plague epidemic that struck primarily Asia in 1901. The coronavirus crisis has caused him to consider the similarities between the ongoing pandemic and past epidemics throughout history.

He sees several recurring behaviors when epidemics strike: denial and false information, distrust of individuals belonging to other groups, and theories about a malicious intent behind the pandemic. But epidemics also remind us that we are not alone and allow us to rediscover a sense of solidarity. He writes in The New York Times.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/epidemics-and-literature/

Economics Laureates on the current pandemic

Pandemics have wide-ranging impacts on the economy. Paul Romer and Paul Krugman are two economists who have been active in the public discourse during the coronavirus crisis.

Paul Romer has expressed concerns about the pandemic’s effects on the economy but is optimistic about the possibilities of technology. He supports widespread testing. Those who are infected have to stay home for two weeks while others can work and take part in other ways in society.

Paul Romer was awarded the prize “for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis.” Paul Romer has demonstrated how knowledge can function as a driver of long-term economic growth. He showed how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to produce new ideas.

His thoughts are developed in his lecture during the Nobel Week 2018.

https://nobelprizemuseum.se/en/economics-laureates-on-the-current-pandemic/

 

Other SOURCE

https://www.nobelprize.org/

 

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Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected more than 10 million people, including pregnant women. To date, no consistent evidence for the vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been found. The placenta serves as the lungs, gut, kidneys, and liver of the fetus. This fetal organ also has major endocrine actions that modulate maternal physiology and, importantly, together with the extraplacental chorioamniotic membranes shield the fetus against microbes from hematogenous dissemination and from invading the amniotic cavity.

 

Most pathogens that cause hematogenous infections in the mother are not able to reach the fetus, which is largely due to the potent protective mechanisms provided by placental cells (i.e. trophoblast cells: syncytiotrophoblasts and cytotrophoblasts). Yet, some of these pathogens such as Toxoplasma gondii, Rubella virus, herpesvirus (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Zika virus (ZIKV), among others, are capable of crossing the placenta and infecting the fetus, causing congenital disease.

 

The placental membranes that contain the fetus and amniotic fluid lack the messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule required to manufacture the ACE2 receptor, the main cell surface receptor used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to cause infection. These placental tissues also lack mRNA needed to make an enzyme, called TMPRSS2, that SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter a cell. Both the receptor and enzyme are present in only miniscule amounts in the placenta, suggesting a possible explanation for why SARS-CoV-2 has only rarely been found in fetuses or newborns of women infected with the virus, according to the study authors.

 

The single-cell transcriptomic analysis presented by the researchers provides evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to infect the placenta and fetus since its canonical receptor and protease, ACE2 and TRMPSS2, are only minimally expressed by the human placenta throughout pregnancy. In addition, it was shown that the SARS-CoV-2 receptors are not expressed by the chorioamniotic membranes in the third trimester. However, viral receptors utilized by CMV, ZIKV, and others are highly expressed by the human placental tissues.

 

Transcript levels do not always correlate with protein expression, but the data of the present study indicates a low likelihood of placental infection and vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. However, it is still possible that the expression of these proteins is much higher in individuals with pregnancy complications related with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which can alter the expression of ACE2. The cellular receptors and mechanisms that could be exploited by SARS-CoV-2 are still under investigation.

 

References:

 

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/placenta-lacks-major-molecules-used-sars-cov-2-virus-cause-infection

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32662421/

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32217113/

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32161408/

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32335053/

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32298273/

 

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Updates on the Oxford, AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

AstraZeneca’s CEO states that their COVID-19 vaccine, codeveloped with Oxford University, should provide protection for a year.

AstraZeneca’s potential coronavirus vaccine is likely to provide protection against contracting Covid-19 for about a year, the company’s chief executive told a Belgian radio station on Tuesday.

The British drugmaker has already begun human trials of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, with a phase I trial in Britain due to end soon and a phase III trial already begun, Pascal Soriot told broadcaster Bel RTL.

“We think that it will protect for about a year,” Soriot said.

AstraZeneca said on Saturday that it had signed contracts with France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands to supply the European Union with up to 400 million doses of the potential vaccine.

It has also agreed deals with Britain and the United States.

“If all goes well, we will have the results of the clinical trials in August/September. We are manufacturing in parallel. We will be ready to deliver from October if all goes well,” Soriot said.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/16/astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-likely-to-protect-for-a-year-ceo-says.html

 

 

From In The Pipeline (Derek Lowe’s regular column in Science)

Criticism of the Oxford Coronavirus Vaccine

By Derek Lowe 18 May, 2020

This piece at Forbes by Bill Haseltine has set off a lot of comment – it’s a look at the Oxford group’s vaccine candidate as compared to the SinoVac candidate, and you may recall (background here) that these are the two teams that have separately reported that their vaccines appear to protect rhesus monkeys from infection after exposure to the coronavirus. Haseltine has some criticisms of the Oxford data, and as you will see from that link to his name, his opinions deserve to be taken seriously. So what’s going on? Update: here’s the take on this at BioCentury.

Looking at the preprint on the Oxford results, Haseltine has a problem with the claim that the monkeys were protected from infection by a dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. The key data are in the preprint’s Figure 3. The Oxford team checked for viral RNA several different ways. One was using bronchoaveolar lavage (BAL fluid), a sampling technique that involves running a bronchoscope down into the lungs and washing out aveolar spaces – a pretty darn invasive assay, which is why you don’t hear about it all that much compared to the still-not-so-nonivasive nose swabs. BAL fluid of the virus-exposed unvaccinated animals showed coronavirus genomic RNA throughout the study, and viral subgenomic RNA (more indicative of active replication) at days 3 and 5 after exposure. Meanwhile, the vaccinated animals showed the genomic RNA in only two monkeys, and no subgenomic RNA at all.

So far, so good. But both vaccinated and unvaccinated monkeys showed the same amount of viral genomic RNA from nose swab samples (Figure 3c). That’s the test that’s used out in the human population, and that means that the vaccinated animals would still be declared as positive for the coronavirus after being exposed to it. And the other thing that Haseltine notes is that the amount (the “titer”, in the lingo) of neutralizing antibodies in the blood of the vaccinated animals does not appear to be that high. You’d like to be able to dilute the blood antibody samples down by hundreds of times or even a thousandfold and still see antiviral activity in an in vitro assay, but in the Oxford case the activity started disappearing at about fortyfold dilution (Figure 2b).

On the positive side, 2/3 of the unvaccinated animals showed clear evidence of viral pneumonia at autopsy, but none of the vaccinated ones did. The conclusion is that the vaccinated animals were indeed infected – the vaccine did not protect against that – but that the disease was definitely less severe. But these results mean that the virus might well still be transmissible from people who had been so vaccinated, even if the disease course itself was not as deadly. You’d want to do better than that, if you can. Haseltine’s take is “Time will tell if this is the best approach. I wouldn’t bet on it.

Haseltine compares these results to the SinoVac inactivated virus vaccine, and finds that that one looks better – at its highest dose, no viral RNA was recovered from the tissues of the vaccinated animals, for example. This sort of “sterilizing immunity” is what you’d want to aim for – it gives the virus nowhere to go in the human population if you can vaccinate enough people. But it’s worth noting that the SinoVac results were from three doses of their vaccine (versus one of the Oxford candidate), and the viral exposure challenge was about half as strong (total viral particles) as what the Oxford paper used. The Oxford group also inoculated their monkeys in both the upper and lower respiratory tract, while the SinoVac team used a single inoculation in the trachea. So I agree with that tweet linked from AndyBiotech; I don’t think that a head-to-head comparison is fair. But Haseltine’s point stands, that the results as we have them from the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine did not actually protect monkeys from infection.

Source: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/05/18/criticism-of-the-oxford-coronavirus-vaccine

 

Please see other Articles on COVID-19 on our Coronavirus Portal Including Late Breaking News at:

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/coronavirus-portal/

 

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SAR-Cov-2 is probably a vasculotropic RNA virus affecting the blood vessels: Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – Bold face and colors are my addition

From: “Dr. Larry Bernstein” <larry.bernstein@gmail.com>

Reply-To: “Dr. Larry Bernstein” <larry.bernstein@gmail.com>

Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 8:50 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <aviva.lev-ari@comcast.net>

Subject: Re: Coronavirus May Be a Vascular Disease, Which Explains Everything | Elemental

“I don’t think the conclusion is fully validated. I would want to see autopsy reports, like that found in China. It can be done safely, and the tools could be discarded.”

Larry

UPDATED on 6/29/2020

Another duality and paradox in the Treatment of COVID-19 Patients in ICUs was expressed by Mike Yoffe, MD, PhD, David H. Koch Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Yaffe has a joint appointment in Acute Care Surgery, Trauma, and Surgical Critical Care, and in Surgical Oncology @BIDMC

on 6/29 at SOLUTIONS with/in/sight at Koch Institute @MIT

How Are Cancer Researchers Fighting COVID-19? (Part II)” Jun 29, 2020 11:30 AM EST

Mike Yoffe, MD, PhD 

In COVID-19 patients: two life threatening conditions are seen in ICUs:

  • Blood Clotting – Hypercoagulability or Thrombophilia
  • Cytokine Storm – immuno-inflammatory response
  • The coexistence of 1 and 2 – HINDERS the ability to use effectively tPA as an anti-clotting agent while the cytokine storm is present.

Mike Yoffe’s related domain of expertise:

Signaling pathways and networks that control cytokine responses and inflammation

Misregulation of cytokine feedback loops, along with inappropriate activation of the blood clotting cascade causes dysregulation of cell signaling pathways in innate immune cells (neutrophils and macrophages), resulting in tissue damage and multiple organ failure following trauma or sepsis. Our research is focused on understanding the role of the p38-MK2 pathway in cytokine control and innate immune function, and on cross-talk between cytokines, clotting factors, and neutrophil NADPH oxidase-derived ROS in tissue damage, coagulopathy, and inflammation, using biochemistry, cell biology, and mouse knock-out/knock-in models.  We recently discovered a particularly important link between abnormal blood clotting and the complement pathway cytokine C5a which causes excessive production of extracellular ROS and organ damage by neutrophils after traumatic injury.

SOURCE

https://www.bidmc.org/research/research-by-department/surgery/acute-care-surgery-trauma-and-surgical-critical-care/michael-b-yaffe

 

SAR-Cov-2 is probably a vasculotropic RNA virus affecting the blood vessels: Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19

Mandeep Mehra, MD, medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center.

“All these Covid-associated complications were a mystery. We see blood clotting, we see kidney damage, we see inflammation of the heart, we see stroke, we see encephalitis [swelling of the brain],” says William Li, MD, president of the Angiogenesis Foundation. “A whole myriad of seemingly unconnected phenomena that you do not normally see with SARS or H1N1 or, frankly, most infectious diseases.”

“If you start to put all of the data together that’s emerging, it turns out that this virus is probably a vasculotropic virus, meaning that it affects the [blood vessels],”

Mehra explains. “Then it starts to infect endothelial cell after endothelial cell, creates a local immune response, and inflames the endothelium.”

Benhur Lee, MD, a professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai:

“In SARS1, the protein that’s required to cleave it is likely present only in the lung environment, so that’s where it can replicate. To my knowledge, it doesn’t really go systemic,” Lee says. “[SARS-CoV-2] is cleaved by a protein called furin, and that’s a big danger because furin is present in all our cells, it’s ubiquitous.”

Sanjum Sethi, MD, MPH, an interventional cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center:

“The endothelial cell layer is in part responsible for [clot] regulation, it inhibits clot formation through a variety of ways, If that’s disrupted, you could see why that may potentially promote clot formation.” Damage to endothelial cells causes inflammation in the blood vessels, and that can cause any plaque that’s accumulated to rupture, causing a heart attack. “Inflammation and endothelial dysfunction promote plaque rupture. Endothelial dysfunction is linked towards worse heart outcomes, in particular myocardial infarction or heart attack.”

https://elemental.medium.com/coronavirus-may-be-a-blood-vessel-disease-which-explains-everything-2c4032481ab2

Endothelial cell dysfunction: pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease are at a higher risk for severe complications from a virus that’s supposed to just infect the lungs. Why ventilation often isn’t enough to help many Covid-19 patients breathe better. Moving air into the lungs, which ventilators help with, is only one part of the equation. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood is just as important to provide the rest of the body with oxygen, and that process relies on functioning blood vessels in the lungs.

William Li, MD, president of the Angiogenesis Foundation:

“If you have blood clots within the blood vessels that are required for complete oxygen exchange, even if you’re moving air in and out of the airways, [if] the circulation is blocked, the full benefits of mechanical ventilatory support are somewhat thwarted,” “We were observing virus particles filling up the endothelial cell like filling up a gumball machine. The endothelial cell swells and the cell membrane starts to break down, and now you have a layer of injured endothelium.” “Endothelial cells connect the entire circulation [system], 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels throughout our body,” says Li. “Is this one way that Covid-19 can impact the brain, the heart, the Covid toe? Does SARS-CoV-2 traffic itself through the endothelial cells or get into the bloodstream this way? We don’t know the answer to that.”

https://elemental.medium.com/coronavirus-may-be-a-blood-vessel-disease-which-explains-everything-2c4032481ab2

If Covid-19 is a vascular disease, the best antiviral therapy might not be antiviral therapy

“I suspect from what we see and what our preliminary data show is that this virus has an additional risk factor for blood clots, but I can’t prove that yet,” Sethi says. An alternative theory is that the blood clotting and symptoms in other organs are caused by inflammation in the body due to an over-reactive immune response — the so-called cytokine storm

SARS-CoV-2 virus can infect the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels. Endothelial cells protect the cardiovascular system, and they release proteins that influence everything from blood clotting to the immune response. In the paper, the scientists showed damage to endothelial cells in the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and intestines in people with Covid-19.

Treatment Protocol for COVID-19

The good news is that if Covid-19 is a vascular disease, there are existing drugs that can help protect against endothelial cell damage. In another New England Journal of Medicine paper that looked at nearly 9,000 people with Covid-19, Mehra showed that the use of statins and ACE inhibitors were linked to higher rates of survival. Statins reduce the risk of heart attacks not only by lowering cholesterol or preventing plaque, they also stabilize existing plaque, meaning they’re less likely to rupture if someone is on the drugs.

“It turns out that both statins and ACE inhibitors are extremely protective on vascular dysfunction,” Mehra says. “Most of their benefit in the continuum of cardiovascular illness — be it high blood pressure, be it stroke, be it heart attack, be it arrhythmia, be it heart failure — in any situation the mechanism by which they protect the cardiovascular system starts with their ability to stabilize the endothelial cells.”

  • The best therapy might actually be a drug that stabilizes the vascular endothelial.

Endothelial cell infection and endotheliitis in COVID-19

Cardiovascular complications are rapidly emerging as a key threat in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in addition to respiratory disease. The mechanisms underlying the disproportionate effect of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection on patients with cardiovascular comorbidities, however, remain incompletely understood.
SARS-CoV-2 infects the host using the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is expressed in several organs, including the lung, heart, kidney, and intestine. ACE2 receptors are also expressed by endothelial cells.
Whether vascular derangements in COVID-19 are due to endothelial cell involvement by the virus is currently unknown. Intriguingly, SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect engineered human blood vessel organoids in vitro.
Here we demonstrate endothelial cell involvement across vascular beds of different organs in a series of patients with COVID-19 (further case details are provided in the appendix).
Patient 1 was a male renal transplant recipient, aged 71 years, with coronary artery disease and arterial hypertension. The patient’s condition deteriorated following COVID-19 diagnosis, and he required mechanical ventilation. Multisystem organ failure occurred, and the patient died on day 8.

Post-mortem analysis of the transplanted kidney by electron microscopy revealed viral inclusion structures in endothelial cells (figure A, B). In histological analyses, we found an accumulation of inflammatory cells associated with endothelium, as well as apoptotic bodies, in the heart, the small bowel (figure C) and lung (figure D). An accumulation of mononuclear cells was found in the lung, and most small lung vessels appeared congested.

See Figures in https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30937-5/fulltext

Findings
We found evidence of direct viral infection of the endothelial cell and diffuse endothelial inflammation. Although the virus uses ACE2 receptor expressed by pneumocytes in the epithelial alveolar lining to infect the host, thereby causing lung injury, the ACE2 receptor is also widely expressed on endothelial cells, which traverse multiple organs.
Recruitment of immune cells, either by direct viral infection of the endothelium or immune-mediated, can result in widespread endothelial dysfunction associated with apoptosis (figure D).
The vascular endothelium is an active paracrine, endocrine, and autocrine organ that is indispensable for the regulation of vascular tone and the maintenance of vascular homoeostasis.
Endothelial dysfunction is a principal determinant of microvascular dysfunction by shifting the vascular equilibrium towards more vasoconstriction with subsequent organ ischaemia, inflammation with associated tissue oedema, and a pro-coagulant state.
Our findings show the presence of viral elements within endothelial cells and an accumulation of inflammatory cells, with evidence of endothelial and inflammatory cell death. These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection facilitates the induction of endotheliitis in several organs as a direct consequence of viral involvement (as noted with presence of viral bodies) and of the host inflammatory response. In addition, induction of apoptosis and pyroptosis might have an important role in endothelial cell injury in patients with COVID-19.
COVID-19-endotheliitis could explain the systemic impaired microcirculatory function in different vascular beds and their clinical sequelae in patients with COVID-19. This hypothesis provides a rationale for therapies to stabilise the endothelium while tackling viral replication, particularly with anti-inflammatory anti-cytokine drugs, ACE inhibitors, and statins., , , ,
This strategy could be particularly relevant for vulnerable patients with pre-existing endothelial dysfunction, which is associated with male sex, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and established cardiovascular disease, all of which are associated with adverse outcomes in COVID-19.

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Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19

List of authors.

  • Mandeep R. Mehra, M.D.,
  • Sapan S. Desai, M.D., Ph.D.,
  • SreyRam Kuy, M.D., M.H.S.,
  • Timothy D. Henry, M.D.,
  • and Amit N. Patel, M.D.

Metrics

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may disproportionately affect people with cardiovascular disease. Concern has been aroused regarding a potential harmful effect of angiotensin-converting–enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) in this clinical context.

METHODS

Using an observational database from 169 hospitals in Asia, Europe, and North America, we evaluated the relationship of cardiovascular disease and drug therapy with in-hospital death among hospitalized patients with Covid-19 who were admitted between December 20, 2019, and March 15, 2020, and were recorded in the Surgical Outcomes Collaborative registry as having either died in the hospital or survived to discharge as of March 28, 2020.

CONCLUSIONS

Our study confirmed previous observations suggesting that underlying cardiovascular disease is associated with an increased risk of in-hospital death among patients hospitalized with Covid-19. Our results did not confirm previous concerns regarding a potential harmful association of ACE inhibitors or ARBs with in-hospital death in this clinical context. (Funded by the William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.)

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has spread around the globe, there has been growing recognition that persons with underlying increased cardiovascular risk may be disproportionately affected.1-3 Several studies of case series have noted cardiac arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, and cardiac arrest as terminal events in patients with Covid-19.1-4 Higher incidences of cardiac arrhythmias, acute coronary syndromes, and heart failure–related events have also been reported during seasonal influenza outbreaks, which suggests that acute respiratory infections may result in activation of coagulation pathways, proinflammatory effects, and endothelial cell dysfunction.5 In addition, however, concern has been expressed that medical therapy for cardiovascular disease might specifically contribute to the severity of illness in patients with Covid-19.6,7

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of Covid-19, has been shown to establish itself in the host through the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as its cellular receptor.8 ACE2 is a membrane-bound monocarboxypeptidase found ubiquitously in humans and expressed predominantly in heart, intestine, kidney, and pulmonary alveolar (type II) cells.7,9 Entry of SARS-CoV-2 into human cells is facilitated by the interaction of a receptor-binding domain in its viral spike glycoprotein ectodomain with the ACE2 receptor.10

ACE2 is counterregulatory to the activity of angiotensin II generated through ACE1 and is protective against detrimental activation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system. Angiotensin II is catalyzed by ACE2 to angiotensin-(1–7), which exerts vasodilatory, antiinflammatory, antifibrotic, and antigrowth effects.11 It has been suggested that ACE inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) may increase the expression of ACE2, which has been shown in the heart in rats,12 and thereby may confer a predisposition to more severe infection and adverse outcomes during Covid-19.6,7 Others have suggested that ACE inhibitors may counter the antiinflammatory effects of ACE2. However, in vitro studies have not shown direct inhibitory activity of ACE inhibitors against ACE2 function.9,13

Despite these uncertainties, some have recommended cessation of treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs in patients with Covid-19.6 However, several scientific societies, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Heart Failure Society of America, and the Council on Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology, have urged that these important medications should not be discontinued in the absence of clear clinical evidence of harm.14,15 We therefore undertook a study to investigate the relationship between underlying cardiovascular disease and Covid-19 outcomes and to evaluate the association between cardiovascular drug therapy and mortality in this illness.

Discussion

Our investigation confirms previous reports of the independent relationship of older age, underlying cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmias), current smoking, and COPD with death in Covid-19. Our results also suggest that women are proportionately more likely than men to survive the infection. Neither harmful nor beneficial associations were noted for antiplatelet therapy, beta-blockers, or hypoglycemic therapy. It is important to note that we were not able to confirm previous concerns regarding a potential harmful association of either ACE inhibitors or ARBs with in-hospital mortality in this clinical context.

In viral infections such as influenza, older age is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and death.5 In the 2003 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, caused by SARS-CoV-1 infection), sex differences in the risk of death similar to those we observed were noted.17 Women have stronger innate and adaptive immunity and greater resistance to viral infections than men.18 In animal models of SARS-CoV-1 infection, higher susceptibility of male mice to SARS-CoV-1 and greater accumulation of macrophages and neutrophils in the lungs have been described.19 Ovariectomy or the use of estrogen-receptor antagonists increased mortality from SARS-CoV-1 infection in female animals. Furthermore, the difference in risk between the sexes increased with advancing age.19 These findings may support the observation in our investigation that suggested an association between survival and female sex, independent of older age.

Infection with SARS-CoV-2 is a mild disease in most people, but in some the disease progresses to a severe respiratory illness characterized by a hyperinflammatory syndrome, multiorgan dysfunction, and death.20 In the lung, the viral spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 interacts with cell-surface ACE2, and the virus is internalized by endocytosis. The endocytic event up-regulates the activity of ADAM metallopeptidase domain 17 (ADAM17), which cleaves ACE2 from the cell membrane, resulting in a loss of ACE2-mediated protection against the effects of activation of the tissue renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system while mediating the release of proinflammatory cytokines into the circulation.21 The stress of critical illness and inflammation may unite in destabilizing preexisting cardiovascular illness. Vascular endothelial cell dysfunction, inflammation-associated myocardial depression, stress cardiomyopathy, direct viral infection of the heart and its vessels, or the host response may cause or worsen heart failure, demand-related ischemia, and arrhythmias.22 These factors may underlie the observed associations between cardiovascular disease and death in Covid-19.

In our analyses, use of either ACE inhibitors or statins was associated with better survival among patients with Covid-19. However, these associations should be considered with extreme caution. Because our study was not a randomized, controlled trial, we cannot exclude the possibility of confounding. In addition, we examined relationships between many variables and in-hospital death, and no primary hypothesis was prespecified; these factors increased the probability of chance associations being found. Therefore, a cause-and-effect relationship between drug therapy and survival should not be inferred. These data also offer no information concerning the potential effect of initiation of ACE inhibitor or statin therapy in patients with Covid-19 who do not have an appropriate indication for these medications. Randomized clinical trials evaluating the role of ACE inhibitors and statins will be necessary before any conclusion can be reached regarding a potential benefit of these agents in patients with Covid-19.

In this multinational observational study involving patients hospitalized with Covid-19, we confirmed previous observations suggesting that underlying cardiovascular disease is independently associated with an increased risk of in-hospital death. We were not able to confirm previous concerns regarding a potential harmful association of ACE inhibitors or ARBs with in-hospital mortality in this clinical context.

Supported by the William Harvey Distinguished Chair in Advanced Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The development and maintenance of the Surgical Outcomes Collaborative database was funded by Surgisphere.

This article was published on May 1, 2020, and updated on May 8, 2020, at NEJM.org.

Author Affiliations

From Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston (M.R.M.); Surgisphere, Chicago (S.S.D.); Baylor College of Medicine and Department of Veterans Affairs, Houston (S.K.); Christ Hospital, Cincinnati (T.D.H.); the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City (A.N.P.); and HCA Research Institute, Nashville (A.N.P.).

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15. European Society of Cardiology. Position statement of the ESC Council on Hypertension on ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers. March 13, 2020 (https://www.escardio.org/Councils/ Council-on-Hypertension-(CHT)/News/ position-statement-of-the-esc-council-on -hypertension-on-ace-inhibitors-and-ang).

16. World Health Organization. Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected: interim guidance. March 13, 2020 (https://www.who.int/docs/default -source/coronaviruse/clinical -management-of-novel-cov.pdf).

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22. Mehra MR, Ruschitzka F. COVID-19 illness and heart failure: a missing link? JACC Heart Fail (in press). Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society

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