Medical staff during morning briefing in boardroom

September 28, 2023

Clinical Reports

  • Early antibody treatment, inflammation, and risk of post-COVID conditions
    Post-COVID conditions (PCCs) are common and have significant morbidity. Risk factors for PCC include advancing age, female sex, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. Little is known about treatment, inflammation, and PCC. Among 882 individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection participating in a randomized trial of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) vs control plasma with available biospecimens and symptom data, the association between early CCP treatment, cytokine levels, and PCC was evaluated. Cytokine and chemokine levels were assessed at baseline, day 14, and day 90 using a multiplexed sandwich immunoassay (Meso Scale Discovery). Presence of any self-reported PCC symptoms was assessed at day 90. Associations between CCP treatment, cytokine levels, and PCC were examined using multivariate logistic regression models. One third of the 882 participants had day 90 PCC symptoms, with fatigue (14.5%) and anosmia (14.5%) being most common. Cytokine levels decreased from baseline to day 90. In a multivariable analysis, female sex, older age, and elevated baseline levels of IL-6 were independently associated with development of PCC. Those who received early CCP treatment (≤5 days after symptom onset) compared to late CCP treatment had statistically significant lower odds of PCC.
  • Distinguishing features of Long COVID identified through immune profiling
    SARS-CoV-2 infection can result in the development of a constellation of persistent sequelae following acute disease called post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or Long COVID. Individuals diagnosed with Long COVID frequently report unremitting fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and a variety of cognitive and autonomic dysfunctions; however, the basic biological mechanisms responsible for these debilitating symptoms are unclear. Here, 215 individuals were included in an exploratory, cross-sectional study to perform multi-dimensional immune phenotyping in conjunction with machine learning methods to identify key immunological features distinguishing Long COVID. Marked differences were noted in specific circulating myeloid and lymphocyte populations relative to matched control groups, as well as evidence of elevated humoral responses directed against SARS-CoV-2 among participants with Long COVID. Further, unexpected increases were observed in antibody responses directed against non-SARS-CoV-2 viral pathogens, particularly Epstein-Barr virus. Analysis of circulating immune mediators and various hormones also revealed pronounced differences, with levels of cortisol being uniformly lower among participants with Long COVID relative to matched control groups. Integration of immune phenotyping data into unbiased machine learning models identified significant distinguishing features critical in accurate classification of Long COVID, with decreased levels of cortisol being the most significant individual predictor. These findings will help guide additional studies into the pathobiology of Long COVID and may aid in the future development of objective biomarkers for Long COVID.
  • Autonomic dysregulation in long-term patients suffering from Post-COVID-19 Syndrome assessed by heart rate variability
    Post-COVID-19 Syndrome (PCS) is a condition with multiple symptoms partly related to dysregulation of the autonomic nerve system. Assessment of heart rate variability (HRV) using 24 h Holter-ECG may serve as a surrogate to characterize cardiac autonomic activity. A prospective study including 103 PCS patients (time after infection = 252 days, age = 49.0 ± 11.3 years, 45.7% women) was performed and patients underwent detailed clinical screening, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, and 24 h Holter monitoring. Data of PCS patients was compared to 103 CAD patients and a healthy control group (n = 90). After correction for age and sex, frequency-related variables differed in PCS patients compared to controls including LF/HFpower, LF/HFnu, and LF/HF ratio (24 h; p ≤ 0.001). By contrast, these variables were largely comparable between PCS and CAD patients, while sympathetic activation was highest in PCS patients during the 24 h period. Overall, PCS patients showed disturbed diurnal adjustment of HRV, with impaired parasympathetic activity at night. Patients hospitalized during acute infection showed an even more pronounced overactivation of sympathetic activity compared to patients who underwent ambulant care. This data demonstrates persistent HRV alterations in PCS patients with long-term symptom duration, suggesting a sustained impairment of sympathovagal balance. Moreover, sympathetic overstimulation and diminished parasympathetic response in long-term PCS patients are comparable to findings in CAD patients. Whether HRV variables have a prognostic value in PCS and/or might serve as biomarkers indicating a successful interventional approach warrants further longitudinal studies.

Antiviral Therapeutics and Vaccines

  • A molnupiravir-associated mutational signature in global SARS-CoV-2 genomes
    Molnupiravir, an antiviral medication that has been widely used against SARS-CoV-2, acts by inducing mutations in the virus genome during replication. Most random mutations are likely to be deleterious to the virus, and many will be lethal, and so molnupiravir-induced elevated mutation rates reduce viral load1,2. However, if some patients treated with molnupiravir do not fully clear SARS-CoV-2 infections, there could be the potential for onward transmission of molnupiravir-mutated viruses. Here researchers show that SARS-CoV-2 sequencing databases contain extensive evidence of molnupiravir mutagenesis. Using a systematic approach, they find that a specific class of long phylogenetic branches, distinguished by a high proportion of G-to-A and C-to-T mutations, appear almost exclusively in sequences from 2022, after the introduction of molnupiravir treatment, and in countries and age-groups with widespread usage of the drug. They identify a mutational spectrum, with preferred nucleotide contexts, from viruses in patients known to have been treated with molnupiravir and show that its signature matches that seen in these long branches, in some cases with onwards transmission of molnupiravir-derived lineages. Finally, researchers analyze treatment records to confirm a direct association between these high G-to-A branches and the use of molnupiravir.
  • Inhaled Fluticasone Furoate for Outpatient Treatment of COVID-19
    The effectiveness of inhaled glucocorticoids in shortening the time to symptom resolution or preventing hospitalization or death among outpatients with mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is unclear. Researchers conducted a decentralized, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled platform trial in the United States to assess the use of repurposed medications in outpatients with confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Nonhospitalized adults 30 years of age or older who had at least two symptoms of acute infection that had been present for no more than 7 days before enrollment were randomly assigned to receive inhaled fluticasone furoate at a dose of 200 μg once daily for 14 days or placebo. The primary outcome was the time to sustained recovery, defined as the third of 3 consecutive days without symptoms. Key secondary outcomes included hospitalization or death by day 28 and a composite outcome of the need for an urgent-care or emergency department visit or hospitalization or death through day 28. Of the 1407 enrolled participants who underwent randomization, 715 were assigned to receive inhaled fluticasone furoate and 692 to receive placebo, and 656 and 621, respectively, were included in the analysis. There was no evidence that the use of fluticasone furoate resulted in a shorter time to recovery than placebo (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% credible interval, 0.91 to 1.12; posterior probability of benefit [defined as a hazard ratio >1], 0.56). A total of 24 participants (3.7%) in the fluticasone furoate group had urgent-care or emergency department visits or were hospitalized, as compared with 13 participants (2.1%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.9; 95% credible interval, 0.8 to 3.5). Three participants in each group were hospitalized, and no deaths occurred. Adverse events were uncommon in both groups. Treatment with inhaled fluticasone furoate for 14 days did not result in a shorter time to recovery than placebo among outpatients with Covid-19 in the United States.


  • Optimal Duration of Systemic Corticosteroids in Coronavirus Disease 2019 Treatment: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
    Corticosteroids confer a survival benefit in individuals hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who require oxygen. This meta-analysis seeks to determine the duration of corticosteroids needed to optimize this mortality benefit. Electronic databases were searched to 9 March 2022, for studies reporting corticosteroid versus no corticosteroid treatment in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Researchers estimated the effect of corticosteroids on mortality by random-effects meta-analyses. Subgroup analyses and meta-analyses were conducted to assess the optimal duration of corticosteroid treatment while adjusting for the severity of disease, age, duration of symptoms, and proportion of control group given steroids. Researchers identified 27 eligible studies consisting of 13 404 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Seven randomized controlled trials and 20 observational studies were included in the meta-analysis of mortality, which suggested a protective association with corticosteroid therapy (risk ratio [RR], 0.71 [95% confidence interval {CI}, .58–.87]). Pooled analysis of 18 studies showed the greatest survival benefit for a treatment duration up to 6 days (RR, 0.54 [95% CI, .39–.74]). Survival benefit was 0.65 (95% CI, .51–.83) up to 7 days, and no additional survival benefit was observed beyond 7 days of treatment (RR, 0.64 [95% CI, .44–.93]). The survival benefit was not confounded by severity of disease, age, duration of symptoms, or proportion of control group given steroids. In this meta-analysis, optimal duration of corticosteroid treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients was up to 6 days, with no additional survival benefit with >7 days of treatment.
  • Multiorgan MRI findings after hospitalization with COVID-19 in the UK (C-MORE): a prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study
    The multiorgan impact of moderate to severe coronavirus infections in the post-acute phase is still poorly understood. We aimed to evaluate the excess burden of multiorgan abnormalities after hospitalization with COVID-19, evaluate their determinants, and explore associations with patient-related outcome measures. In a prospective, UK-wide, multicenter MRI follow-up study (C-MORE), adults (aged ≥18 years) discharged from hospital following COVID-19 who were included in Tier 2 of the Post-hospitalization COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID) and contemporary controls with no evidence of previous COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibody negative) underwent multiorgan MRI (lungs, heart, brain, liver, and kidneys) with quantitative and qualitative assessment of images and clinical adjudication when relevant. Individuals with end-stage renal failure or contraindications to MRI were excluded. Participants also underwent detailed recording of symptoms, and physiological and biochemical tests. The primary outcome was the excess burden of multiorgan abnormalities (two or more organs) relative to controls, with further adjustments for potential confounders. Of 2710 participants in Tier 2 of PHOSP-COVID, 531 were recruited across 13 UK-wide C-MORE sites. After exclusions, 259 C-MORE patients (mean age 57 years [SD 12]; 158 [61%] male and 101 [39%] female) who were discharged from hospital with PCR-confirmed or clinically diagnosed COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and Nov 1, 2021, and 52 non-COVID-19 controls from the community (mean age 49 years [SD 14]; 30 [58%] male and 22 [42%] female) were included in the analysis. Patients were assessed at a median of 5·0 months (IQR 4·2–6·3) after hospital discharge. Compared with non-COVID-19 controls, patients were older, living with more obesity, and had more comorbidities. Multiorgan abnormalities on MRI were more frequent in patients than in controls (157 [61%] of 259 vs 14 [27%] of 52; p<0·0001) and independently associated with COVID-19 status (odds ratio [OR] 2·9 [95% CI 1·5–5·8]; padjusted=0·0023) after adjusting for relevant confounders. Compared with controls, patients were more likely to have MRI evidence of lung abnormalities (p=0·0001; parenchymal abnormalities), brain abnormalities (p<0·0001; more white matter hyperintensities and regional brain volume reduction), and kidney abnormalities (p=0·014; lower medullary T1 and loss of corticomedullary differentiation), whereas cardiac and liver MRI abnormalities were similar between patients and controls. Patients with multiorgan abnormalities were older (difference in mean age 7 years [95% CI 4–10]; mean age of 59·8 years [SD 11·7] with multiorgan abnormalities vs mean age of 52·8 years [11·9] without multiorgan abnormalities; p<0·0001), more likely to have three or more comorbidities (OR 2·47 [1·32–4·82]; padjusted=0·0059), and more likely to have a more severe acute infection (acute CRP >5mg/L, OR 3·55 [1·23–11·88]; padjusted=0·025) than those without multiorgan abnormalities. Presence of lung MRI abnormalities was associated with a two-fold higher risk of chest tightness, and multiorgan MRI abnormalities were associated with severe and very severe persistent physical and mental health impairment (PHOSP-COVID symptom clusters) after hospitalization.

Situation Dashboards


World Health Organization (WHO)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation from World Health Organization (WHO)

Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at JHU

COVID-19 in US and Canada

1Point3Acres Real-Time Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates in US and Canada with Credible Sources

Genomic Epidemiology COVID-19

Genomic Epidemiology of (COVID-19) Maintained by the Nextstrain team, enabled by data from GISAID.

Sources for COVID-19 Information


World Health Organization (WHO)


Centers for Disease Control, US


International Society for Infectious Diseases


This Week in Virology (TWIV)

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