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      Complement associated microvascular injury and thrombosis in the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 infection: A report of five cases

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          Abstract

          Acute respiratory failure and a systemic coagulopathy are critical aspects of the morbidity and mortality characterizing infection with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome-associated coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiologic agent of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We examined skin and lung tissues from 5 patients with severe COVID-19 characterized by respiratory failure (n=5) and purpuric skin rash (n=3). The pattern of COVID-19 pneumonitis was predominantly a pauci-inflammatory septal capillary injury with significant septal capillary mural and luminal fibrin deposition and permeation of the inter-alveolar septa by neutrophils. No viral cytopathic changes were observed and the diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) with hyaline membranes, inflammation, and type II pneumocyte hyperplasia, hallmarks of classic ARDS, were not prominent. These pulmonary findings were accompanied by significant deposits of terminal complement components C5b-9 (membrane attack complex), C4d, and mannose binding lectin (MBL)-associated serine protease (MASP)2, in the microvasculature, consistent with sustained, systemic activation of the alternative and lectin-based complement pathways. The purpuric skin lesions similarly showed a pauci-inflammatory thrombogenic vasculopathy, with deposition of C5b-9 and C4d in both grossly involved and normally-appearing skin. In addition, there was co-localization of COVID-19 spike glycoproteins with C4d and C5b-9 in the inter-alveolar septa and the cutaneous microvasculature of two cases examined. In conclusion, at least a subset of sustained, severe COVID-19 may define a type of catastrophic microvascular injury syndrome mediated by activation of complement pathways and an associated procoagulant state. It provides a foundation for further exploration of the pathophysiologic importance of complement in COVID-19, and could suggest targets for specific intervention.

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          Most cited references26

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          Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study

          Summary Background Since December, 2019, Wuhan, China, has experienced an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients with COVID-19 have been reported but risk factors for mortality and a detailed clinical course of illness, including viral shedding, have not been well described. Methods In this retrospective, multicentre cohort study, we included all adult inpatients (≥18 years old) with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital (Wuhan, China) who had been discharged or had died by Jan 31, 2020. Demographic, clinical, treatment, and laboratory data, including serial samples for viral RNA detection, were extracted from electronic medical records and compared between survivors and non-survivors. We used univariable and multivariable logistic regression methods to explore the risk factors associated with in-hospital death. Findings 191 patients (135 from Jinyintan Hospital and 56 from Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital) were included in this study, of whom 137 were discharged and 54 died in hospital. 91 (48%) patients had a comorbidity, with hypertension being the most common (58 [30%] patients), followed by diabetes (36 [19%] patients) and coronary heart disease (15 [8%] patients). Multivariable regression showed increasing odds of in-hospital death associated with older age (odds ratio 1·10, 95% CI 1·03–1·17, per year increase; p=0·0043), higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score (5·65, 2·61–12·23; p<0·0001), and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL (18·42, 2·64–128·55; p=0·0033) on admission. Median duration of viral shedding was 20·0 days (IQR 17·0–24·0) in survivors, but SARS-CoV-2 was detectable until death in non-survivors. The longest observed duration of viral shedding in survivors was 37 days. Interpretation The potential risk factors of older age, high SOFA score, and d-dimer greater than 1 μg/mL could help clinicians to identify patients with poor prognosis at an early stage. Prolonged viral shedding provides the rationale for a strategy of isolation of infected patients and optimal antiviral interventions in the future. Funding Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences; National Science Grant for Distinguished Young Scholars; National Key Research and Development Program of China; The Beijing Science and Technology Project; and Major Projects of National Science and Technology on New Drug Creation and Development.
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            A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019

            Summary In December 2019, a cluster of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause was linked to a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China. A previously unknown betacoronavirus was discovered through the use of unbiased sequencing in samples from patients with pneumonia. Human airway epithelial cells were used to isolate a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, which formed a clade within the subgenus sarbecovirus, Orthocoronavirinae subfamily. Different from both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, 2019-nCoV is the seventh member of the family of coronaviruses that infect humans. Enhanced surveillance and further investigation are ongoing. (Funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Major Project for Control and Prevention of Infectious Disease in China.)
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              Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

              In December 2019, novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, China. The number of cases has increased rapidly but information on the clinical characteristics of affected patients is limited.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Transl Res
                Transl Res
                Translational Research
                Elsevier Inc.
                1931-5244
                1878-1810
                15 April 2020
                15 April 2020
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine
                [b ]Department of Laboratory Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
                [c ]Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA
                [d ]The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus Ohio and Discovery Life Sciences, Powell, Ohio
                [e ]Department of Dermatology, Weill Cornell Medicine
                [f ]Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Jeffrey Laurence, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065. jlaurenc@ 123456med.cornell.edu
                Article
                S1931-5244(20)30070-0
                10.1016/j.trsl.2020.04.007
                7158248
                32299776
                6a25def8-a9ff-4797-ad84-9b95420f58f0
                © 2020 Elsevier Inc. 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.

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