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      Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations associated with severe coronavirus infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis with comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic


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          Before the COVID-19 pandemic, coronaviruses caused two noteworthy outbreaks: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), starting in 2002, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), starting in 2012. We aimed to assess the psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations of SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.


          In this systematic review and meta-analysis, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases (from their inception until March 18, 2020), and medRxiv, bioRxiv, and PsyArXiv (between Jan 1, 2020, and April 10, 2020) were searched by two independent researchers for all English-language studies or preprints reporting data on the psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations of individuals with suspected or laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infection (SARS coronavirus, MERS coronavirus, or SARS coronavirus 2). We excluded studies limited to neurological complications without specified neuropsychiatric presentations and those investigating the indirect effects of coronavirus infections on the mental health of people who are not infected, such as those mediated through physical distancing measures such as self-isolation or quarantine. Outcomes were psychiatric signs or symptoms; symptom severity; diagnoses based on ICD-10, DSM-IV, or the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders (third edition) or psychometric scales; quality of life; and employment. Both the systematic review and the meta-analysis stratified outcomes across illness stages (acute vs post-illness) for SARS and MERS. We used a random-effects model for the meta-analysis, and the meta-analytical effect size was prevalence for relevant outcomes, I 2 statistics, and assessment of study quality.


          1963 studies and 87 preprints were identified by the systematic search, of which 65 peer-reviewed studies and seven preprints met inclusion criteria. The number of coronavirus cases of the included studies was 3559, ranging from 1 to 997, and the mean age of participants in studies ranged from 12·2 years (SD 4·1) to 68·0 years (single case report). Studies were from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, Saudi Arabia, France, Japan, Singapore, the UK, and the USA. Follow-up time for the post-illness studies varied between 60 days and 12 years. The systematic review revealed that during the acute illness, common symptoms among patients admitted to hospital for SARS or MERS included confusion (36 [27·9%; 95% CI 20·5–36·0] of 129 patients), depressed mood (42 [32·6%; 24·7–40·9] of 129), anxiety (46 [35·7%; 27·6–44·2] of 129), impaired memory (44 [34·1%; 26·2–42·5] of 129), and insomnia (54 [41·9%; 22·5–50·5] of 129). Steroid-induced mania and psychosis were reported in 13 (0·7%) of 1744 patients with SARS in the acute stage in one study. In the post-illness stage, depressed mood (35 [10·5%; 95% CI 7·5–14·1] of 332 patients), insomnia (34 [12·1%; 8·6–16·3] of 280), anxiety (21 [12·3%; 7·7–17·7] of 171), irritability (28 [12·8%; 8·7–17·6] of 218), memory impairment (44 [18·9%; 14·1–24·2] of 233), fatigue (61 [19·3%; 15·1–23·9] of 316), and in one study traumatic memories (55 [30·4%; 23·9–37·3] of 181) and sleep disorder (14 [100·0%; 88·0–100·0] of 14) were frequently reported. The meta-analysis indicated that in the post-illness stage the point prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder was 32·2% (95% CI 23·7–42·0; 121 of 402 cases from four studies), that of depression was 14·9% (12·1–18·2; 77 of 517 cases from five studies), and that of anxiety disorders was 14·8% (11·1–19·4; 42 of 284 cases from three studies). 446 (76·9%; 95% CI 68·1–84·6) of 580 patients from six studies had returned to work at a mean follow-up time of 35·3 months (SD 40·1). When data for patients with COVID-19 were examined (including preprint data), there was evidence for delirium (confusion in 26 [65%] of 40 intensive care unit patients and agitation in 40 [69%] of 58 intensive care unit patients in one study, and altered consciousness in 17 [21%] of 82 patients who subsequently died in another study). At discharge, 15 (33%) of 45 patients with COVID-19 who were assessed had a dysexecutive syndrome in one study. At the time of writing, there were two reports of hypoxic encephalopathy and one report of encephalitis. 68 (94%) of the 72 studies were of either low or medium quality.


          If infection with SARS-CoV-2 follows a similar course to that with SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV, most patients should recover without experiencing mental illness. SARS-CoV-2 might cause delirium in a significant proportion of patients in the acute stage. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of depression, anxiety, fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, and rarer neuropsychiatric syndromes in the longer term.


          Wellcome Trust, UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UK Medical Research Council, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College London.

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          Most cited references76

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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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            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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              COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression

              As of March 12, 2020, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been confirmed in 125 048 people worldwide, carrying a mortality of approximately 3·7%, 1 compared with a mortality rate of less than 1% from influenza. There is an urgent need for effective treatment. Current focus has been on the development of novel therapeutics, including antivirals and vaccines. Accumulating evidence suggests that a subgroup of patients with severe COVID-19 might have a cytokine storm syndrome. We recommend identification and treatment of hyperinflammation using existing, approved therapies with proven safety profiles to address the immediate need to reduce the rising mortality. Current management of COVID-19 is supportive, and respiratory failure from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the leading cause of mortality. 2 Secondary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (sHLH) is an under-recognised, hyperinflammatory syndrome characterised by a fulminant and fatal hypercytokinaemia with multiorgan failure. In adults, sHLH is most commonly triggered by viral infections 3 and occurs in 3·7–4·3% of sepsis cases. 4 Cardinal features of sHLH include unremitting fever, cytopenias, and hyperferritinaemia; pulmonary involvement (including ARDS) occurs in approximately 50% of patients. 5 A cytokine profile resembling sHLH is associated with COVID-19 disease severity, characterised by increased interleukin (IL)-2, IL-7, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, interferon-γ inducible protein 10, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, macrophage inflammatory protein 1-α, and tumour necrosis factor-α. 6 Predictors of fatality from a recent retrospective, multicentre study of 150 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China, included elevated ferritin (mean 1297·6 ng/ml in non-survivors vs 614·0 ng/ml in survivors; p 39·4°C 49 Organomegaly None 0 Hepatomegaly or splenomegaly 23 Hepatomegaly and splenomegaly 38 Number of cytopenias * One lineage 0 Two lineages 24 Three lineages 34 Triglycerides (mmol/L) 4·0 mmol/L 64 Fibrinogen (g/L) >2·5 g/L 0 ≤2·5 g/L 30 Ferritin ng/ml 6000 ng/ml 50 Serum aspartate aminotransferase <30 IU/L 0 ≥30 IU/L 19 Haemophagocytosis on bone marrow aspirate No 0 Yes 35 Known immunosuppression † No 0 Yes 18 The Hscore 11 generates a probability for the presence of secondary HLH. HScores greater than 169 are 93% sensitive and 86% specific for HLH. Note that bone marrow haemophagocytosis is not mandatory for a diagnosis of HLH. HScores can be calculated using an online HScore calculator. 11 HLH=haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. * Defined as either haemoglobin concentration of 9·2 g/dL or less (≤5·71 mmol/L), a white blood cell count of 5000 white blood cells per mm3 or less, or platelet count of 110 000 platelets per mm3 or less, or all of these criteria combined. † HIV positive or receiving longterm immunosuppressive therapy (ie, glucocorticoids, cyclosporine, azathioprine).

                Author and article information

                Lancet Psychiatry
                Lancet Psychiatry
                The Lancet. Psychiatry
                The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                18 May 2020
                18 May 2020
                [a ]Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, UK
                [b ]South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
                [c ]Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, London, UK
                [d ]Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
                [e ]UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK
                [f ]University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
                [g ]UCL Institute of Mental Health, University College London, London, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Jonathan P Rogers, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London W1T 7NF, UK jonathan.rogers@ 123456ucl.ac.uk

                Contributed equally

                © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license

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