Coronavirus (COVID-19) Collection
Emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern Omicron (B.1.1.529) - highlights Africa's research capabilities, but exposes major knowledge gaps, inequities of vaccine distribution, inadequacies in global COVID-19 response and control effortsNearly two years since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which has caused over 5 million deaths, the world continues to be on high COVID-19 alert. The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with national authorities, public health institutions and scientists have been closely monitoring and assessing the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 since January 2020 (WHO 2021a; WHO 2021b). The emergence of specific SARS-CoV-2 variants were characterised as Variant of Interest (VOI) and Variant of Concern (VOC), to prioritise global monitoring and research, and to inform the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO and its international sequencing networks continuously monitor SARS-CoV-2 mutations and inform countries about any changes that may be needed to respond to the variant, and prevent its spread where feasible.
Role of testosterone in SARS-CoV-2 infection: A key pathogenic factor and a biomarker for severe pneumoniaSevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is characterized by a huge range of clinical manifestations. Many pathogenetic pathways and virulence mechanisms are still unknown. Nevertheless, it is known that the host’s immune system plays a key role (Blanco-Melo et al., 2020). Notably, age, comorbidities (e.g. diabetes mellitus, obesity), smoking habits and male sex (Rod et al., 2020; Wu et al., 2020) are the fundamental independent risk factors for death from coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) (Zhou et al., 2020).
Prolonged and severe SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients under B-cell-depleting drug successfully treated: A tailored approachPatients with pre-existing comorbidities and immunosuppression, including anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, widely used to treat hematological malignancies or autoimmune disease, are at greater risk for persistent Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-CoronaVirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (He et al., 2020). Prolonged B-cell depletion impairs the adaptive immune response and the ability to produce neutralizing antibodies, causing severe manifestations and a prolonged course of COVID-19 (Mehta et al., 2020; Hueso et al., 2020).
Risk and predictive factors of prolonged viral RNA shedding in upper respiratory specimens in a large cohort of COVID-19 patients admitted to an Italian reference hospitalThe emergence and rapid spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by SARS-CoV-2, has become a global health emergency and one of our century's greatest challenges. As of February 24, 2021, approximately 111 million confirmed cases and more than 2.4 million deaths had been reported worldwide (Anon, 2020).
The unbalanced p53/SIRT1 axis may impact lymphocyte homeostasis in COVID-19 patientsIn patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, excessive inflammatory responses are considered to play a major role in the pathogenesis of severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) disease, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple-organ failure (Moore and June, 2020). Dysregulated inflammatory profile, defective immune responses and lymphopenia have also been identified as important features of severe disease (Del Valle et al., 2020; Bordoni et al., 2020).
Mortality in COVID-19 disease patients: Correlating the association of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) with severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variantsGenetic factors such as the HLA type of patients may play a role in regard to disease severity and clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19. Taking the data deposited in the GISAID database, we made predictions using the IEDB analysis resource (TepiTool) to gauge how variants in the SARS-CoV-2 genome may change peptide binding to the most frequent MHC-class I and -II alleles in Africa, Asia and Europe. We caracterized how a single mutation in the wildtype sequence of of SARS-CoV-2 could influence the peptide binding of SARS-CoV-2 variants to MHC class II, but not to MHC class I alleles.
Reducing mortality and morbidity in patients with severe COVID-19 disease by advancing ongoing trials of Mesenchymal Stromal (stem) Cell (MSC) therapy — Achieving global consensus and visibility for cellular host-directed therapiesAs of May 17th 2020, the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused 307,395 deaths worldwide, out of 3,917,366 cases reported to the World Health Organization. No specific treatments for reducing mortality or morbidity are yet available. Deaths from COVID-19 will continue to rise globally until effective and appropriate treatments and/or vaccines are found. In search of effective treatments, the global medical, scientific, pharma and funding communities have rapidly initiated over 500 COVID-19 clinical trials on a range of antiviral drug regimens and repurposed drugs in various combinations.
Usefulness of bronchoalveolar lavage in the management of patients presenting with lung infiltrates and suspect COVID-19-associated pneumonia: A case reportIn December 2019, a novel coronavirus infection, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2), emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China which the World Health Organization (WHO) has named 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) . The clinical spectrum of SARS-CoV-2 infection appears to be wide, encompassing asymptomatic infection, mild upper respiratory tract illness, and severe viral pneumonia with respiratory failure and even death . It is a highly infectious disease and currently person-to-person transmission is the main source of infection; many unknowns remain regarding the virulence/pathogenicity, the effectiveness of different modes of transmission, the infectivity during the incubation period and during recovery, the impact of individual or population-based preventive measures .
Is Africa prepared for tackling the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic. Lessons from past outbreaks, ongoing pan-African public health efforts, and implications for the futureSoon after the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV), was first identified in a cluster of patients with pneumonia (Li et al., 2020), in the Chinese city of Wuhan on 31 December 2019, rapid human to human transmission was anticipated (Hui et al., 2020). The fast pace of transmission is wreaking havoc and stirring media hype and public health concern (Ippolito et al., 2020) globally. When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease, (now officially named COVID-19) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 31st January 2020 (WHO, 2020a), the Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus justified the decision by stating that WHOs greatest concern was the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems.
2019-novel Coronavirus severe adult respiratory distress syndrome in two cases in Italy: An uncommon radiological presentationOn December 31, 2019, aggregate cases of an apparently new respiratory syndrome were reported in the city of Wuhan, China by Chinese national health authorities to the World Health Organization (WHO) (Huang et al., 2020; Organization WH, 2020a). As of 13h February 2020, there have been 45 171 cases reported to the World Health Organization with 1104 deaths (Organization WH, 2020a). Outside China there have been 441 confirmed cases reported from 24 countries (Organization WH, 2020a; Organization WH, 2020b).
The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health — The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, ChinaThe city of Wuhan in China is the focus of global attention due to an outbreak of a febrile respiratory illness due to a coronavirus 2019-nCoV. In December 2019, there was an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei province in China, with an epidemiological link to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where there was also sale of live animals. Notification of the WHO on 31 Dec 2019 by the Chinese Health Authorities has prompted health authorities in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan to step up border surveillance, and generated concern and fears that it could mark the emergence of a novel and serious threat to public health (WHO, 2020a; Parr, 2020).