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      Use of conventional synthetic and biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs in patients with rheumatic diseases contracting COVID-19: a single-center experience


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          To examine whether patients with inflammatory arthritis (IA) treated with conventional synthetic (cs) disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and/or biologic (b) DMARDs, could be affected from SARS-CoV-2 infection and to explore the COVID-19 disease course and outcome in this population. This is a prospective observational study. During the period February–December 2020, 443 patients with IA who were followed-up in the outpatient arthritis clinic were investigated. All patients were receiving cs and/or bDMARDs. During follow-up, the clinical, laboratory findings, comorbidities and drug side effects were all recorded and the treatment was adjusted or changed according to clinical manifestations and patient’s needs. There were 251 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 101 with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and 91 with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). We identified 32 patients who contracted COVID-19 (17 RA, 8 PsA, 7 AS). All were in remission and all drugs were discontinued. They presented mild COVID-19 symptoms, expressed mainly with systemic manifestations and sore throat, while six presented olfactory dysfunction and gastrointestinal disturbances, and all of them had a favorable disease course. However, three patients were admitted to the hospital, two of them with respiratory symptoms and pneumonia and were treated appropriately with excellent clinical response and outcome. Patients with IA treated with cs and/or bDMARDs have almost the same disease course with the general population when contract COVID-19.

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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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            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).
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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.

                Author and article information

                adrosos@uoi.gr , http://www.rheumatology.gr
                Rheumatol Int
                Rheumatol Int
                Rheumatology International
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                3 March 2021
                : 1-7
                [1 ]GRID grid.9594.1, ISNI 0000 0001 2108 7481, Rheumatology Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, , University of Ioannina, ; 45110 Ioannina, Greece
                [2 ]GRID grid.9594.1, ISNI 0000 0001 2108 7481, Laboratory Medicine, Department of Microbiology, Medical School, , University of Ioannina, ; 45110 Ioannina, Greece
                [3 ]GRID grid.9594.1, ISNI 0000 0001 2108 7481, Gastroenterology Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, , University of Ioannina, ; 45110 Ioannina, Greece
                Author information
                © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH, DE part of Springer Nature 2021

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                : 18 January 2021
                : 18 February 2021
                Observational Research

                covid-19,rheumatoid arthritis,psoriatic arthritis,ankylosing spondylitis,autoimmune rheumatic disease


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