October 4, 2021

Clinical Reports

  • Incidence, co-occurrence, and evolution of long-COVID features: A 6-month retrospective cohort study of 273,618 survivors of COVID-19
    Long-COVID refers to a variety of symptoms affecting different organs reported by people following Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. To date, there have been no robust estimates of the incidence and co-occurrence of long-COVID features, their relationship to age, sex, or severity of infection, and the extent to which they are specific to COVID-19. The aim of this study is to address these issues. Authors conducted a retrospective cohort study based on linked electronic health records (EHRs) data from 81 million patients including 273,618 COVID-19 survivors. The incidence and co-occurrence within 6 months and in the 3 to 6 months after COVID-19 diagnosis were calculated for 9 core features of long-COVID (breathing difficulties/breathlessness, fatigue/malaise, chest/throat pain, headache, abdominal symptoms, myalgia, other pain, cognitive symptoms, and anxiety/depression). Their co-occurrence network was also analyzed. Comparison with a propensity score–matched cohort of patients diagnosed with influenza during the same time period was achieved using Kaplan–Meier analysis and the Cox proportional hazard model. The incidence of atopic dermatitis was used as a negative control. Among COVID-19 survivors (mean [SD] age: 46.3 [19.8], 55.6% female), 57.00% had one or more long-COVID feature recorded during the whole 6-month period (i.e., including the acute phase), and 36.55% between 3 and 6 months. The incidence of each feature was: abnormal breathing (18.71% in the 1- to 180-day period; 7.94% in the 90- to180-day period), fatigue/malaise (12.82%; 5.87%), chest/throat pain (12.60%; 5.71%), headache (8.67%; 4.63%), other pain (11.60%; 7.19%), abdominal symptoms (15.58%; 8.29%), myalgia (3.24%; 1.54%), cognitive symptoms (7.88%; 3.95%), and anxiety/depression (22.82%; 15.49%). All 9 features were more frequently reported after COVID-19 than after influenza (with an overall excess incidence of 16.60% and hazard ratios between 1.44 and 2.04, all p < 0.001), co-occurred more commonly, and formed a more interconnected network. Significant differences in incidence and co-occurrence were associated with sex, age, and illness severity. Besides the limitations inherent to EHR data, limitations of this study include that (i) the findings do not generalize to patients who have had COVID-19 but were not diagnosed, nor to patients who do not seek or receive medical attention when experiencing symptoms of long-COVID; (ii) the findings say nothing about the persistence of the clinical features; and (iii) the difference between cohorts might be affected by one cohort seeking or receiving more medical attention for their symptoms. Long-COVID clinical features occurred and co-occurred frequently and showed some specificity to COVID-19, though they were also observed after influenza. Different long-COVID clinical profiles were observed based on demographics and illness severity.

Antiviral Therapeutics and Vaccines

  • Pfizer and BioNTech submit initial data to US FDA from pivotal trial of COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to <12 years of age
    Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced they have submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the Phase 2/3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to <12 years of age.  The Companies announced positive topline results from the pivotal trial on September 20, 2021. In the trial, which included 2,268 participants 5 to <12 years of age, the vaccine demonstrated a favorable safety profile and elicited robust neutralizing antibody responses using a two-dose regimen of 10 μg doses. These results – the first from a pivotal trial of any COVID-19 vaccine in this age group – were comparable to those recorded in a previous Pfizer-BioNTech study in people 16 to 25 years of age, who were immunized with 30 μg doses. The 10 μg dose was carefully selected as the preferred dose for safety, tolerability and immunogenicity in children 5 to <12 years of age. These data have been shared with the FDA for the Agency’s initial review. A formal submission to request Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to <12 years of age is expected to follow in the coming weeks. Submissions to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other regulatory authorities are also planned. Topline immunogenicity and safety readouts for the other two age cohorts from the trial – children 2 to <5 years of age and children 6 months to <2 years of age – are expected as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit data from the full Phase 3 trial for scientific peer-reviewed publication.
  • Safety Monitoring of an Additional Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, August 12–September 19, 2021
    Among 306 Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial participants, adverse reactions after dose 3 were similar to those after dose 2. During August 12–September 19, 2021, among 12,591 v-safe registrants who completed a health check-in survey after all 3 doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, 79.4% and 74.1% reported local or systemic reactions, respectively, after the third dose; 77.6% and 76.5% reported local or systemic reactions after the second dose, respectively. Voluntary reports to v-safe found no unexpected patterns of adverse reactions after an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine. CDC will continue to monitor vaccine safety, including for additional COVID-19 doses.
  •  REGEN-COV Antibody Combination and Outcomes in Outpatients with Covid-19
    In the phase 1–2 portion of an adaptive trial, REGEN-COV, a combination of the monoclonal antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab, reduced the viral load and number of medical visits in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). REGEN-COV has activity in vitro against current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern. In the phase 3 portion of an adaptive trial, outpatients with Covid-19 and risk factors for severe disease were randomly assigned to receive various doses of intravenous REGEN-COV or placebo. Patients were followed through day 29. A prespecified hierarchical analysis was used to assess the end points of hospitalization or death and the time to resolution of symptoms. Safety was also evaluated. Covid-19–related hospitalization or death from any cause occurred in 18 of 1355 patients in the REGEN-COV 2400-mg group (1.3%) and in 62 of 1341 patients in the placebo group who underwent randomization concurrently (4.6%) (relative risk reduction [1 minus the relative risk], 71.3%; P<0.001); these outcomes occurred in 7 of 736 patients in the REGEN-COV 1200-mg group (1.0%) and in 24 of 748 patients in the placebo group who underwent randomization concurrently (3.2%) (relative risk reduction, 70.4%; P=0.002). The median time to resolution of symptoms was 4 days shorter with each REGEN-COV dose than with placebo (10 days vs. 14 days; P<0.001 for both comparisons). REGEN-COV was efficacious across various subgroups, including patients who were SARS-CoV-2 serum antibody–positive at baseline. Both REGEN-COV doses reduced viral load faster than placebo; the least-squares mean difference in viral load from baseline through day 7 was −0.71 log10 copies per milliliter (95% confidence interval [CI], −0.90 to −0.53) in the 1200-mg group and −0.86 log10 copies per milliliter (95% CI, −1.00 to −0.72) in the 2400-mg group. Serious adverse events occurred more frequently in the placebo group (4.0%) than in the 1200-mg group (1.1%) and the 2400-mg group (1.3%); infusion-related reactions of grade 2 or higher occurred in less than 0.3% of the patients in all groups. REGEN-COV reduced the risk of Covid-19–related hospitalization or death from any cause, and it resolved symptoms and reduced the SARS-CoV-2 viral load more rapidly than placebo. 
  • Pfizer starts global phase 2/3 EPIC_PEP study of novel CZOVID-19 oral antiviral candidate for post-exposure prophylaxis in adults
    Pfizer today announced the start of the Phase 2/3 EPIC-PEP (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) study to evaluate the investigational novel oral antiviral candidate PF-07321332, co-administered with a low dose of ritonavir, for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. This Phase 2/3 trial is part of a global clinical research program and is enrolling individuals who are at least 18 years old and live in the same household as an individual with a confirmed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Phase 2/3 EPIC-PEP trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and will enroll up to 2,660 healthy adult participants aged 18 and older. Participants will be randomly assigned (1:1:1) to receive PF-07321332/ritonavir or placebo orally twice daily for 5 or 10 days. The primary objective will assess safety and efficacy for the prevention of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and its symptoms through Day 14. PF-07321332 is an oral antiviral SARS-CoV-2-3CL protease inhibitor, which has an encouraging pre-clinical profile, including potent in vitro antiviral SARS-CoV-2 and broad coronavirus activity. Results from the Phase 1 clinical trial demonstrated that PF-07321332 was safe and well tolerated. In addition to this study, the global EPIC program consists of multiple ongoing clinical trials, including one in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients who are at high risk of severe illness (including hospitalization or death), which began in July 2021, and another in infected patients who are at standard risk (i.e., do not have risk factors for severe illness), which began in August 2021.
  •  Impact of Timing of Tocilizumab Use in Hospitalized Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection
    Authors sought to determine the efficacy of early administration of anti-interleukin 6 therapy in reducing hospital mortality and progression to mechanical ventilation.  This was a retrospective chart review of 11,512 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 who were admitted to a New York health system from March to May 2020. Tocilizumab was administered to subjects at the nasal cannula level of oxygen support to maintain an oxygen saturation of >88%. The Charlson comorbidity index was used as an objective assessment of the burden of comorbidities to predict 10-year mortality. The primary outcome of interest was hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes were progression to mechanical ventilation; the prevalence of venous thromboembolism and renal failure; and the change in C-reactive protein, D-dimer, and ferritin levels after tocilizumab administration. Propensity score matching by using a 1:2 protocol was used to match the tocilizumab and non-tocilizumab groups to minimize selection bias. The groups were matched on baseline demographic characteristics, including age, sex, and body mass index; Charlson comorbidity index score; laboratory markers, including ferritin, D-dimer, lactate dehydrogenase, and C-reactive protein values; and the maximum oxygen requirement at the time of tocilizumab administration. Mortality outcomes were evaluated based on the level of oxygen requirement and the day of hospitalization at the time of tocilizumab administration. The overall hospital mortality was significantly reduced in the tocilizumab group when tocilizumab was administered at the nasal cannula level (10.4% vs 22.0%; P = .002). In subjects who received tocilizumab at the nasal cannula level, the progression to mechanical ventilation was reduced versus subjects who were initially on higher levels of oxygen support (6.3% vs 18.7%; P < .001). There was no improvement in mortality when tocilizumab was given at the time of requiring non-rebreather, high-flow nasal cannula, noninvasive ventilator, or invasive ventilator. Early use of anti-interleukin 6 therapy may be associated with improved hospital mortality and reduction in progression to more severe coronavirus disease 2019.

Epidemiology

  •  Oklahoma COVID-19 Weekly Report
    This weekly report summarizes COVID-19 epidemiological data in Oklahoma. Part of the report is the incidence of infections in vaccinated individuals.

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