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      Effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in severe COVID-19 patients


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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      National Academy of Sciences

      COVID-19, convalescent plasma, treatment outcome, pilot project

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          COVID-19 is currently a big threat to global health. However, no specific antiviral agents are available for its treatment. In this work, we explore the feasibility of convalescent plasma (CP) transfusion to rescue severe patients. The results from 10 severe adult cases showed that one dose (200 mL) of CP was well tolerated and could significantly increase or maintain the neutralizing antibodies at a high level, leading to disappearance of viremia in 7 d. Meanwhile, clinical symptoms and paraclinical criteria rapidly improved within 3 d. Radiological examination showed varying degrees of absorption of lung lesions within 7 d. These results indicate that CP can serve as a promising rescue option for severe COVID-19, while the randomized trial is warranted.


          Currently, there are no approved specific antiviral agents for novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, 10 severe patients confirmed by real-time viral RNA test were enrolled prospectively. One dose of 200 mL of convalescent plasma (CP) derived from recently recovered donors with the neutralizing antibody titers above 1:640 was transfused to the patients as an addition to maximal supportive care and antiviral agents. The primary endpoint was the safety of CP transfusion. The second endpoints were the improvement of clinical symptoms and laboratory parameters within 3 d after CP transfusion. The median time from onset of illness to CP transfusion was 16.5 d. After CP transfusion, the level of neutralizing antibody increased rapidly up to 1:640 in five cases, while that of the other four cases maintained at a high level (1:640). The clinical symptoms were significantly improved along with increase of oxyhemoglobin saturation within 3 d. Several parameters tended to improve as compared to pretransfusion, including increased lymphocyte counts (0.65 × 10 9/L vs. 0.76 × 10 9/L) and decreased C-reactive protein (55.98 mg/L vs. 18.13 mg/L). Radiological examinations showed varying degrees of absorption of lung lesions within 7 d. The viral load was undetectable after transfusion in seven patients who had previous viremia. No severe adverse effects were observed. This study showed CP therapy was well tolerated and could potentially improve the clinical outcomes through neutralizing viremia in severe COVID-19 cases. The optimal dose and time point, as well as the clinical benefit of CP therapy, needs further investigation in larger well-controlled trials.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China

          Summary Background A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients. Methods All patients with suspected 2019-nCoV were admitted to a designated hospital in Wuhan. We prospectively collected and analysed data on patients with laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection by real-time RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Data were obtained with standardised data collection forms shared by WHO and the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium from electronic medical records. Researchers also directly communicated with patients or their families to ascertain epidemiological and symptom data. Outcomes were also compared between patients who had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and those who had not. Findings By Jan 2, 2020, 41 admitted hospital patients had been identified as having laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV infection. Most of the infected patients were men (30 [73%] of 41); less than half had underlying diseases (13 [32%]), including diabetes (eight [20%]), hypertension (six [15%]), and cardiovascular disease (six [15%]). Median age was 49·0 years (IQR 41·0–58·0). 27 (66%) of 41 patients had been exposed to Huanan seafood market. One family cluster was found. Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (40 [98%] of 41 patients), cough (31 [76%]), and myalgia or fatigue (18 [44%]); less common symptoms were sputum production (11 [28%] of 39), headache (three [8%] of 38), haemoptysis (two [5%] of 39), and diarrhoea (one [3%] of 38). Dyspnoea developed in 22 (55%) of 40 patients (median time from illness onset to dyspnoea 8·0 days [IQR 5·0–13·0]). 26 (63%) of 41 patients had lymphopenia. All 41 patients had pneumonia with abnormal findings on chest CT. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (12 [29%]), RNAaemia (six [15%]), acute cardiac injury (five [12%]) and secondary infection (four [10%]). 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died. Compared with non-ICU patients, ICU patients had higher plasma levels of IL2, IL7, IL10, GSCF, IP10, MCP1, MIP1A, and TNFα. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection caused clusters of severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high mortality. Major gaps in our knowledge of the origin, epidemiology, duration of human transmission, and clinical spectrum of disease need fulfilment by future studies. Funding Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission.
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            Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study

            Summary Background In December, 2019, a pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerged in Wuhan, China. We aimed to further clarify the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV pneumonia. Methods In this retrospective, single-centre study, we included all confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from Jan 1 to Jan 20, 2020. Cases were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR and were analysed for epidemiological, demographic, clinical, and radiological features and laboratory data. Outcomes were followed up until Jan 25, 2020. Findings Of the 99 patients with 2019-nCoV pneumonia, 49 (49%) had a history of exposure to the Huanan seafood market. The average age of the patients was 55·5 years (SD 13·1), including 67 men and 32 women. 2019-nCoV was detected in all patients by real-time RT-PCR. 50 (51%) patients had chronic diseases. Patients had clinical manifestations of fever (82 [83%] patients), cough (81 [82%] patients), shortness of breath (31 [31%] patients), muscle ache (11 [11%] patients), confusion (nine [9%] patients), headache (eight [8%] patients), sore throat (five [5%] patients), rhinorrhoea (four [4%] patients), chest pain (two [2%] patients), diarrhoea (two [2%] patients), and nausea and vomiting (one [1%] patient). According to imaging examination, 74 (75%) patients showed bilateral pneumonia, 14 (14%) patients showed multiple mottling and ground-glass opacity, and one (1%) patient had pneumothorax. 17 (17%) patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and, among them, 11 (11%) patients worsened in a short period of time and died of multiple organ failure. Interpretation The 2019-nCoV infection was of clustering onset, is more likely to affect older males with comorbidities, and can result in severe and even fatal respiratory diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. In general, characteristics of patients who died were in line with the MuLBSTA score, an early warning model for predicting mortality in viral pneumonia. Further investigation is needed to explore the applicability of the MuLBSTA score in predicting the risk of mortality in 2019-nCoV infection. Funding National Key R&D Program of China.
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              A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin

              Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 18 years ago, a large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) have been discovered in their natural reservoir host, bats 1–4 . Previous studies have shown that some bat SARSr-CoVs have the potential to infect humans 5–7 . Here we report the identification and characterization of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which caused an epidemic of acute respiratory syndrome in humans in Wuhan, China. The epidemic, which started on 12 December 2019, had caused 2,794 laboratory-confirmed infections including 80 deaths by 26 January 2020. Full-length genome sequences were obtained from five patients at an early stage of the outbreak. The sequences are almost identical and share 79.6% sequence identity to SARS-CoV. Furthermore, we show that 2019-nCoV is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus. Pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins domains show that this virus belongs to the species of SARSr-CoV. In addition, 2019-nCoV virus isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a critically ill patient could be neutralized by sera from several patients. Notably, we confirmed that 2019-nCoV uses the same cell entry receptor—angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2)—as SARS-CoV.

                Author and article information

                Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
                Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
                National Academy of Sciences
                28 April 2020
                6 April 2020
                6 April 2020
                : 117
                : 17
                : 9490-9496
                [1] aChina National Biotec Group Company Limited , 100029 Beijing, China;
                [2] bNational Engineering Technology Research Center for Combined Vaccines, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd. , 430207 Wuhan, China;
                [3] cFirst People’s Hospital of Jiangxia District , 430200 Wuhan, China;
                [4] dSinopharm Wuhan Plasma-derived Biotherapies Co., Ltd , 430207 Wuhan, China;
                [5] eKey Laboratory of Special Pathogens, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Center for Biosafety Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences , 430071 Wuhan, China;
                [6] fWuHan Jinyintan Hospital , 430023 Wuhan, China;
                [7] gDepartment of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , 200025 Shanghai, China;
                [8] hNational Research Center for Translational Medicine, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , 200025 Shanghai, China;
                [9] iInstitute of Respiratory Diseases, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , 200025 Shanghai, China;
                [10] jClinical Research Center, Department of Gastroenterology, Ruijin Hospital North, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , 200018 Shanghai, China;
                [11] kWuhan Blood Center , 430030 Wuhan, China;
                [12] lState Key Laboratory of Medical Genomics, Shanghai Institute of Hematology, National Research Center for Translational Medicine, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , 200025 Shanghai, China;
                [13] mResearch Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Ruijin Hospital and Ruijin Hospital North, National Research Center for Translational Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine , 200025 Shanghai, China;
                [14] nNational Institute for Food and Drug Control of China , 102629 Beijing, China
                Author notes
                2To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: zchen@ 123456stn.sh.cn , zhangx@ 123456shsmu.edu.cn , or yangxiaoming@ 123456sinopharm.com .

                Contributed by Zhu Chen, March 18, 2020 (sent for review March 5, 2020; reviewed by W. Ian Lipkin and Fusheng Wang)

                Author contributions: Z.C., X. Zhang, and X. Yang designed research; S.M., Yong Hu, C.P., M.Y., Z.W., J.Y., X.G., D.W., L. Li, J.Z., X.W., B. Li, W.C., Y.P., Yeqin Hu, L. Lin, S.H., Z. Zhou, L.Z., Y.W., Z. Zhang, K. Deng, Z.X., Q.G., W.Z., X. Zheng, Y.L., H.Y., D.Z., D.Y., J. Hou, and Z.S. performed research; J. Huang, X. Yu, Y.X., X.L., S.C., and Z.C. analyzed data; and K. Duan, B. Liu, C.L., H.Z., T.Y., J.Q., M.Z., L.C., and Z.C. wrote the paper.

                Reviewers: W.I.L., Columbia University; and F.W., Beijing 302 Hospital.

                1K. Duan, B. Liu, C.L., H.Z., T.Y., J.Q., M.Z., and L.C. contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2020 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

                This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

                Page count
                Pages: 7
                Funded by: Key Project of Ministry of Science and Technology of China
                Award ID: 2020YFC0841800
                Award Recipient : Xiaoming Yang
                Biological Sciences
                Medical Sciences
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