Nebulised heparin as a treatment for COVID-19: scientific rationale and a call for randomised evidence.
ABSTRACT: Nebulised unfractionated heparin (UFH) has a strong scientific and biological rationale and warrants urgent investigation of its therapeutic potential, for COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). COVID-19 ARDS displays the typical features of diffuse alveolar damage with extensive pulmonary coagulation activation resulting in fibrin deposition in the microvasculature and formation of hyaline membranes in the air sacs. Patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 who manifest severe disease have high levels of inflammatory cytokines in plasma and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and significant coagulopathy. There is a strong association between the extent of the coagulopathy and poor clinical outcomes.The anti-coagulant actions of nebulised UFH limit fibrin deposition and microvascular thrombosis. Trials in patients with acute lung injury and related conditions found inhaled UFH reduced pulmonary dead space, coagulation activation, microvascular thrombosis and clinical deterioration, resulting in increased time free of ventilatory support. In addition, UFH has anti-inflammatory, mucolytic and anti-viral properties and, specifically, has been shown to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevent its entry into mammalian cells, thereby inhibiting pulmonary infection by SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, clinical studies have shown that inhaled UFH safely improves outcomes in other inflammatory respiratory diseases and also acts as an effective mucolytic in sputum-producing respiratory patients. UFH is widely available and inexpensive, which may make this treatment also accessible for low- and middle-income countries.These potentially important therapeutic properties of nebulised UFH underline the need for expedited large-scale clinical trials to test its potential to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.
Project description:Difficulties have risen while managing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19, although it meets the Berlin definition. Severe hypoxemia with near-normal compliance was noted along with coagulopathy. Understanding the precise pathophysiology of this atypical ARDS will assist researchers and physicians in improving their therapeutic approach. Previous work is limited to postmortem studies, while our report addresses patients under protective lung mechanical ventilation. An open-lung minithoracotomy was performed in 3 patients who developed ARDS related to COVID-19 and were admitted to the intensive care unit to carry out a pathological and microbiological analysis on lung tissue biopsy. Diffused alveolar damage with hyaline membranes was found, as well as plurifocal fibrin microthrombi and vascular congestion in all patients' specimens. Microbiological cultures were negative, whereas qualitative Reversed Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) detected SARS-CoV-2 in the pulmonary parenchyma and pleural fluid in two patients. COVID-19 causes progressive ARDS with onset of severe hypoxemia, underlying a dual mechanism: shunt effect through diffused alveolar damage and dead space effect through thrombotic injuries in microvascular beds. It seems reasonable to manage this ventilation-perfusion ratio mismatch using a high dose of anticoagulant combined with glucocorticoids.
Project description:Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a form of respiratory failure in human. The number of deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection inducing this severe pneumonia (ARDS) is relatively high. In fact, COVID-19 might get worsen in ARDS and provoke respiratory failure. A better understood of ARDS key features and the pathophysiological injuries of the pulmonary parenchyma are linked to lessons learned from previous severe diseases associated previous coronaviruses outbreaks (especially SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) and more the ongoing SARS-CoV-2. The ARDS mechanism includes a diffuse alveolar damage associated disruption of alveolar capillary membrane, pulmonary edema, damaged endothelium and increased permeability. A diffuse inflammation, with acute onset, on the lung tissue accompanied by release of biochemical signal and inflammatory mediators (TNF?, IL-1 and IL-6) leading to hypoxemia, low PaO2/FiO2 ratio and the chest radiological expression of bilateral infiltrates in ARDS. The ongoing outbreak could lead to a better understood of ARDS pathophysiology and prognostic. An overview is also highlighted about the seven coronaviruses proved to infect human especially those having ability to cause severe disease SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. In this review, we focused on the major pathological mechanisms leading to the ARDS development as a result of viral infection, severe COVID-19 worsening. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The novel coronavirus pneumonia COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection could lead to a series of clinical symptoms and severe illnesses, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and fatal organ failure. We report the fundamental pathological investigation in the lungs and other organs of fatal cases for the mechanistic understanding of severe COVID-19 and the development of specific therapy in these cases. METHODS:The autopsy and pathological investigations of specimens were performed on bodies of two deceased cases with COVID-19. Gross anatomy and histological investigation by Hematoxylin and eosin (HE) stained were reviewed on each patient. Alcian blue/periodic acid-Schiff (AB-PAS) staining and Masson staining were performed for the examinations of mucus, fibrin and collagen fiber in lung tissues. Immunohistochemical staining was performed on the slides of lung tissues from two patients. Real-time PCR was performed to detect the infection of SARS-CoV-2. Flow cytometry analyses were performed to detect the direct binding of S protein and the expression of ACE2 on the cell surface of macrophages. FINDINGS:The main pathological features in lungs included extensive impairment of type I alveolar epithelial cells and atypical hyperplasia of type II alveolar cells, with formation of hyaline membrane, focal hemorrhage, exudation and pulmonary edema, and pulmonary consolidation. The mucous plug with fibrinous exudate in the alveoli and the dysfunction of alveolar macrophages were characteristic abnormalities. The type II alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages in alveoli and pulmonary hilum lymphoid tissue were infected by SARS-CoV-2. S protein of SARS-CoV-2 directly bound to the macrophage via the S-protein-ACE2 interaction. INTERPRETATION:Infection of alveolar macrophage by SARS-CoV-2 might be drivers of the "cytokine storm", which might result in damages in pulmonary tissues, heart and lung, and lead to the failure of multiple organs . FUNDING:Shanghai Guangci Translational Medical Research Development Foundation, Shanghai, China.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly become a global pandemic. In addition to the acute pulmonary symptoms of COVID-19 (the disease associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection), pulmonary and distal coagulopathies have caused morbidity and mortality in many patients. Currently, the molecular pathogenesis underlying COVID-19 associated coagulopathies are unknown. While there are many theories for the cause of this pathology, including hyper inflammation and excess tissue damage, the cellular and molecular underpinnings are not yet clear. By analyzing transcriptomic data sets from experimental and clinical research teams, we determined that changes in the gene expression of genes important in the extrinsic coagulation cascade in the lung epithelium may be important triggers for COVID-19 coagulopathy. This regulation of the extrinsic blood coagulation cascade is not seen with influenza A virus (IAV)-infected NHBEs suggesting that the lung epithelial derived coagulopathies are specific to SARS-Cov-2 infection. This study is the first to identify potential lung epithelial cell derived factors contributing to COVID-19 associated coagulopathy. GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT: AUTHOR SUMMARY:Why was this study done?: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly become a global pandemic.In addition to the acute pulmonary symptoms of COVID-19 (the disease associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection), pulmonary and distal coagulopathies have caused morbidity and mortality in many patients.Currently, the molecular pathogenesis underlying COVID-19 associated coagulopathies are unknown. Understanding the molecular basis of dysregulated blood coagulation during SARS-CoV-2 infection may help promote new therapeutic strategies to mitigate these complications in COVID-19 patients.What did the researchers do and find?: We analyzed three publicly available RNA sequencing datasets to identify possible molecular etiologies of COVID-19 associated coagulopathies. These data sets include sequencing libraries from clinically isolated samples of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from SARS-CoV-2 positive patients and healthy controls. We also analyzed a publicly available RNA sequencing dataset derived from in vitro SARS-CoV-2 infected primary normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells and mock infected samples. Pathway analysis of both NHBE and BALF differential gene expression gene sets. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces the activation of the extrinsic blood coagulation cascade and suppression of the plasminogen activation system in both NHBEs and cells isolated from the BALF. PBMCs did not differentially express genes regulating blood coagulation.Comparison with influenza A virus (IAV)-infected NHBEs revealed that the regulation of the extrinsic blood coagulation cascade is unique to SARS-CoV-2, and not seen with IAV infection.What do these findings mean?: The hyper-activation of the extrinsic blood coagulation cascade and the suppression of the plasminogen activation system in SARS-CoV-2 infected epithelial cells may drive diverse coagulopathies in the lung and distal organ systems.The gene transcription pattern in SARS-CoV-2 infected epithelial cells is distinct from IAV infected epithelial cells with regards to the regulation of blood coagulation.
Project description:The discovery of angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) as the receptor for SARS- CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2) has implicated the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and respiratory failure in patients with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). The angiotensin converting enzyme-1-angiotensin II-angiotensin AT1 receptor pathway contributes to the pathophysiology of ARDS, whereas activation of the ACE-2-angiotensin(1-7)-angiotensin AT2 receptor and the ACE-2-angiotensin(1-7)-Mas receptor pathways have been shown to be protective. Here we propose and discuss therapeutic considerations how to increase soluble ACE-2 in plasma in order for ACE-2 to capture and thereby inactivate SARS-CoV-2. This could be achieved by administering recombinant soluble ACE-2. We also discuss why and how ACEIs and ARBs provide cardiovascular, renal and also pulmonary protection in SARS-CoV-2- associated ARDS. Discontinuing these medications in COVID-19 patients may therefore potentially be harmful.
Project description:The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused extreme human suffering and economic harm. We generated and characterized a new mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 virus that captures multiple aspects of severe COVID-19 disease in standard laboratory mice. This SARS-CoV-2 model exhibits the spectrum of morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 disease as well as aspects of host genetics, age, cellular tropisms, elevated Th1 cytokines, and loss of surfactant expression and pulmonary function linked to pathological features of acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This model can rapidly access existing mouse resources to elucidate the role of host genetics, underlying molecular mechanisms governing SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, and the protective or pathogenic immune responses related to disease severity. The model promises to provide a robust platform for studies of ALI and ARDS to evaluate vaccine and antiviral drug performance, including in the most vulnerable populations (i.e., the aged) using standard laboratory mice.
Project description:The 1918 influenza killed approximately 50 million people in a few short years, and now, the world is facing another pandemic. In December 2019, a novel coronavirus named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused an international outbreak of a respiratory illness termed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and rapidly spread to cause the worst pandemic since 1918. Recent clinical reports highlight an atypical presentation of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients characterized by severe hypoxemia, an imbalance of the renin-angiotensin system, an increase in thrombogenic processes, and a cytokine release storm. These processes not only exacerbate lung injury but can also promote pulmonary vascular remodeling and vasoconstriction, which are hallmarks of pulmonary hypertension (PH). PH is a complication of ARDS that has received little attention; thus, we hypothesize that PH in COVID-19-induced ARDS represents an important target for disease amelioration. The mechanisms that can promote PH following SARS-CoV-2 infection are described. In this review article, we outline emerging mechanisms of pulmonary vascular dysfunction and outline potential treatment options that have been clinically tested.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The global numbers of confirmed cases and deceased critically ill patients with COVID-19 are increasing. However, the clinical course, and the 60-day mortality and its predictors in critically ill patients have not been fully elucidated. The aim of this study is to identify the clinical course, and 60-day mortality and its predictors in critically ill patients with COVID-19. METHODS:Critically ill adult patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) from 3 hospitals in Wuhan, China, were included. Data on demographic information, preexisting comorbidities, laboratory findings at ICU admission, treatments, clinical outcomes, and results of SARS-CoV-2 RNA tests and of serum SARS-CoV-2 IgM were collected including the duration between symptom onset and negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. RESULTS:Of 1748 patients with COVID-19, 239 (13.7%) critically ill patients were included. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in 164 (68.6%) patients, coagulopathy in 150 (62.7%) patients, acute cardiac injury in 103 (43.1%) patients, and acute kidney injury (AKI) in 119 (49.8%) patients, which occurred 15.5?days, 17?days, 18.5?days, and 19?days after the symptom onset, respectively. The median duration of the negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was 30 (range 6-81) days in 49 critically ill survivors that were identified. A total of 147 (61.5%) patients deceased by 60?days after ICU admission. The median duration between ICU admission and decease was 12 (range 3-36). Cox proportional-hazards regression analysis revealed that age older than 65?years, thrombocytopenia at ICU admission, ARDS, and AKI independently predicted the 60-day mortality. CONCLUSIONS:Severe complications are common and the 60-day mortality of critically ill patients with COVID-19 is considerably high. The duration of the negative conversion of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and its association with the severity of critically ill patients with COVID-19 should be seriously considered and further studied.
Project description:The causative organism, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), exhibits a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations in disease-ridden patients. Differences in the severity of COVID-19 ranges from asymptomatic infections and mild cases to the severe form, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiorgan failure with poor survival. MiRNAs can regulate various cellular processes, including proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation, by binding to the 3′UTR of target mRNAs inducing their degradation, thus serving a fundamental role in post-transcriptional repression. Alterations of miRNA levels in the blood have been described in multiple inflammatory and infectious diseases, including SARS-related coronaviruses. We used microarrays to delineate the miRNAs and snoRNAs signature in the peripheral blood of severe COVID-19 cases (n=9), as compared to mild (n=10) and asymptomatic (n=10) patients, and identified differentially expressed transcripts in severe versus asymptomatic, and others in severe versus mild COVID-19 cases. A cohort of 29 male age-matched patients were selected. All patients were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 using TaqPath COVID-19 Combo Kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, Massachusetts), or Cobas SARS-CoV-2 Test (Roche Diagnostics, Rotkreuz, Switzerland), with a CT value < 30. Additional criterion for selection was age between 35 and 75 years. Participants were grouped into severe, mild and asymptomatic. Classifying severe cases was based on requirement of high-flow oxygen support and ICU admission (n=9). Whereas mild patients were identified based on symptoms and positive radiographic findings with pulmonary involvement (n=10). Patients with no clinical presentation were labelled as asymptomatic cases (n=10).
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread around the world. While the first case was recorded in Hubei in December 2019, the extent of early community spread in Central Europe before this period is unknown. A high proportion of asymptomatic cases and undocumented infections, high transmissibility, and phylogenetic genomic diversity have engendered the controversial possibility of early international community spread of SARS-CoV-2 before its emergence in China.<h4>Methods</h4>To assess the early presence of lethal COVID-19 in Switzerland, we retrospectively performed an analysis of deaths at University Hospital Basel between October 2019 and February 2020 (n = 310), comparing the incidence of clinical causes of death with March 2020 (n = 72), the month during which the first lethal COVID-19 cases in Basel were reported. Trends of COVID-19-suggestive sequelae, such as bronchopneumonia with organization, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or pulmonary embolisms (PE) were evaluated. In cases where autopsy was performed (n = 71), analogous analyses were conducted on the cause of death and pulmonary histological findings. Eight cases with a COVID-19-suggestive clinical history and histopathology between October 2019 and February 2020, and 3 cases before October 2019, were selected for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR.<h4>Results</h4>A statistically significant rise in pulmonary causes of death was observed in March 2020 (p = 0.03), consistent with the reported emergence of lethal COVID-19 in Switzerland. A rise in lethal bronchopneumonia was observed between December 2019 and January 2020, which was likely seasonal. The incidence of lethal ARDS and PE was uniformly low between October 2019 and February 2020. All autopsy cases analyzed by means of SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR yielded negative results.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our data suggest the absence of early lethal community spread of COVID-19 in Basel before its initial reported emergence in Switzerland in March 2020.