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      Can atmospheric pollution be considered a co-factor in extremely high level of SARS-CoV-2 lethality in Northern Italy?

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          Abstract

          This paper investigates the correlation between the high level of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lethality and the atmospheric pollution in Northern Italy. Indeed, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna are Italian regions with both the highest level of virus lethality in the world and one of Europe’s most polluted area. Based on this correlation, this paper analyzes the possible link between pollution and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome and eventually death. We provide evidence that people living in an area with high levels of pollutant are more prone to develop chronic respiratory conditions and suitable to any infective agent. Moreover, a prolonged exposure to air pollution leads to a chronic inflammatory stimulus, even in young and healthy subjects. We conclude that the high level of pollution in Northern Italy should be considered an additional co-factor of the high level of lethality recorded in that area.

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          Genomic characterisation and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding

          Summary Background In late December, 2019, patients presenting with viral pneumonia due to an unidentified microbial agent were reported in Wuhan, China. A novel coronavirus was subsequently identified as the causative pathogen, provisionally named 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). As of Jan 26, 2020, more than 2000 cases of 2019-nCoV infection have been confirmed, most of which involved people living in or visiting Wuhan, and human-to-human transmission has been confirmed. Methods We did next-generation sequencing of samples from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and cultured isolates from nine inpatients, eight of whom had visited the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan. Complete and partial 2019-nCoV genome sequences were obtained from these individuals. Viral contigs were connected using Sanger sequencing to obtain the full-length genomes, with the terminal regions determined by rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Phylogenetic analysis of these 2019-nCoV genomes and those of other coronaviruses was used to determine the evolutionary history of the virus and help infer its likely origin. Homology modelling was done to explore the likely receptor-binding properties of the virus. Findings The ten genome sequences of 2019-nCoV obtained from the nine patients were extremely similar, exhibiting more than 99·98% sequence identity. Notably, 2019-nCoV was closely related (with 88% identity) to two bat-derived severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronaviruses, bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21, collected in 2018 in Zhoushan, eastern China, but were more distant from SARS-CoV (about 79%) and MERS-CoV (about 50%). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 2019-nCoV fell within the subgenus Sarbecovirus of the genus Betacoronavirus, with a relatively long branch length to its closest relatives bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21, and was genetically distinct from SARS-CoV. Notably, homology modelling revealed that 2019-nCoV had a similar receptor-binding domain structure to that of SARS-CoV, despite amino acid variation at some key residues. Interpretation 2019-nCoV is sufficiently divergent from SARS-CoV to be considered a new human-infecting betacoronavirus. Although our phylogenetic analysis suggests that bats might be the original host of this virus, an animal sold at the seafood market in Wuhan might represent an intermediate host facilitating the emergence of the virus in humans. Importantly, structural analysis suggests that 2019-nCoV might be able to bind to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor in humans. The future evolution, adaptation, and spread of this virus warrant urgent investigation. Funding National Key Research and Development Program of China, National Major Project for Control and Prevention of Infectious Disease in China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shandong First Medical University.
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            Dysregulation of immune response in patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China

            Abstract Background In December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan and rapidly spread throughout China. Methods Demographic and clinical data of all confirmed cases with COVID-19 on admission at Tongji Hospital from January 10 to February 12, 2020, were collected and analyzed. The data of laboratory examinations, including peripheral lymphocyte subsets, were analyzed and compared between severe and non-severe patients. Results Of the 452 patients with COVID-19 recruited, 286 were diagnosed as severe infection. The median age was 58 years and 235 were male. The most common symptoms were fever, shortness of breath, expectoration, fatigue, dry cough and myalgia. Severe cases tend to have lower lymphocytes counts, higher leukocytes counts and neutrophil-lymphocyte-ratio (NLR), as well as lower percentages of monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Most of severe cases demonstrated elevated levels of infection-related biomarkers and inflammatory cytokines. The number of T cells significantly decreased, and more hampered in severe cases. Both helper T cells and suppressor T cells in patients with COVID-19 were below normal levels, and lower level of helper T cells in severe group. The percentage of naïve helper T cells increased and memory helper T cells decreased in severe cases. Patients with COVID-19 also have lower level of regulatory T cells, and more obviously damaged in severe cases. Conclusions The novel coronavirus might mainly act on lymphocytes, especially T lymphocytes. Surveillance of NLR and lymphocyte subsets is helpful in the early screening of critical illness, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
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              Plasma inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in severe acute respiratory syndrome

              Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a recently emerged infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus, but its immunopathological mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. We investigated changes in plasma T helper (Th) cell cytokines, inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in 20 patients diagnosed with SARS. Cytokine profile of SARS patients showed marked elevation of Th1 cytokine interferon (IFN)-γ, inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and IL-12 for at least 2 weeks after disease onset, but there was no significant elevation of inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, Th1 cytokine IL-2 and Th2 cytokine IL-4. The chemokine profile demonstrated significant elevation of neutrophil chemokine IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and Th1 chemokine IFN-γ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10). Corticosteroid reduced significantly IL-8, MCP-1 and IP-10 concentrations from 5 to 8 days after treatment (all P < 0·001). Together, the elevation of Th1 cytokine IFN-γ, inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6 and IL-12 and chemokines IL-8, MCP-1 and IP-10 confirmed the activation of Th1 cell-mediated immunity and hyperinnate inflammatory response in SARS through the accumulation of monocytes/macrophages and neutrophils.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Environ Pollut
                Environ. Pollut
                Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)
                Elsevier Ltd.
                0269-7491
                1873-6424
                4 April 2020
                4 April 2020
                : 114465
                Affiliations
                [a ]Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena, Policlinico Le Scotte, viale Mario Bracci 1, Siena, Italy
                [b ]Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Frederiksborgvej 399, Roskilde, Denmark
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. dac@ 123456envs.au.dk
                Article
                S0269-7491(20)32060-1 114465
                10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114465
                7128509
                32268945
                40174399-ead8-4167-ba72-ab3ecee5334d
                © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                History
                : 22 March 2020
                : 24 March 2020
                Categories
                Article

                General environmental science
                covid-19,coronavirus,atmospheric pollution,inflammation,ards
                General environmental science
                covid-19, coronavirus, atmospheric pollution, inflammation, ards

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