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Volume 13, September

Infect. Dis. Rep., Volume 13, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 14 articles

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Article
Assessing the Impact of (Self)-Quarantine through a Basic Model of Infectious Disease Dynamics
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 978-992; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040090 (registering DOI) - 24 Nov 2021
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Abstract
We introduce a system of differential equations to assess the impact of (self-)quarantine of symptomatic infectious individuals on disease dynamics. To this end we depart from using the classic bilinear infection process, but remain within the framework of the mass-action assumption. From the [...] Read more.
We introduce a system of differential equations to assess the impact of (self-)quarantine of symptomatic infectious individuals on disease dynamics. To this end we depart from using the classic bilinear infection process, but remain within the framework of the mass-action assumption. From the mathematical point of view, the model we propose is interesting due to the lack of continuous differentiability at disease-free steady states, which implies that the basic reproductive number cannot be computed following established mathematical approaches for certain parameter values. However, we parametrise our mathematical model using published values from the COVID-19 literature, and analyse the model simulations. We also contrast model simulations against publicly available COVID-19 test data, focusing on the first wave of the pandemic during March–July 2020 in the UK. Our simulations indicate that actual peak case numbers might have been as much as 200 times higher than the reported positive test cases during the first wave in the UK. We find that very strong adherence to self-quarantine rules yields (only) a reduction of 22% of peak numbers and delays the onset of the peak by approximately 30–35 days. However, during the early phase of the outbreak, the impact of (self)-quarantine is much more significant. We also take into account the effect of a national lockdown in a simplistic way by reducing the effective susceptible population size. We find that, in case of a 90% reduction of the effective susceptible population size, strong adherence to self-quarantine still only yields a 25% reduction of peak infectious numbers when compared to low adherence. This is due to the significant number of asymptomatic infectious individuals in the population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Step In, Step Out from the First Lockdown: An Exploration of COVID-19 Perceptions in France and Quebec
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 965-977; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040089 (registering DOI) - 22 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Objective. The objective of this research was to describe and analyze the role of psychological and behavioral factors on perceptions of COVID-19 in France and Quebec at three different times during the pandemic. Design. We conducted three qualitative and quantitative studies (Study 1 [...] Read more.
Objective. The objective of this research was to describe and analyze the role of psychological and behavioral factors on perceptions of COVID-19 in France and Quebec at three different times during the pandemic. Design. We conducted three qualitative and quantitative studies (Study 1 N = 255, Study 2 N = 230, Study 3 N = 143). Participants were asked to evaluate psychological and behavioral measures: at the beginning of lockdown (Study 1), during lockdown (Study 2), and during lockdown exit (Study 3). Results. Results of Study 1 show that perceptions of COVID-19 are organized around fear and a sense of threat. During the lockdown, participants mentioned for the first time the health practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Study 2). Psychological and social impacts constitute a central theme in participants’ discourse (Study 2 and 3). Conclusions. The results show that perceptions of risk during a pandemic are socially constructed. Perceptions seem to be influenced by the political and health management of a territory and by the evolution of behavioral and psychological responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Longitudinal Rise in Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Children in Western Germany—A Blind Spot in Epidemiology?
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 957-964; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040088 - 12 Nov 2021
Viewed by 252
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in children and adolescents are often underestimated due to asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic infections. Seroprevalence studies can reveal the magnitude of “silent” infections in this age group and help to assess the risk of infection for children but also their role [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in children and adolescents are often underestimated due to asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic infections. Seroprevalence studies can reveal the magnitude of “silent” infections in this age group and help to assess the risk of infection for children but also their role in spreading the disease. In total, 2045 children and their parents from the Ruhr region were finally included after the exclusion of drop-outs. Seroconversion rates among children of all age groups increased from 0.5% to 8% during the study period and were about three to fourfold higher than the officially registered PCR-based infection rates. Only 41% recalled symptoms of infection; 59% were asymptomatic. In 51% of the infected children, at least one parent also developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Depending on local incidences, the rates of seroconversion rose to different levels during the study period. Although the dynamics of infection within the study cohort mirrors local incidence, the figure of SARS-CoV-2 infections in children and adolescents appears to be high. Reported contact with SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals in the same household carries a high risk of infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Brief Report
A SWOT Analysis of the Guidelines on Prevention of HIV/AIDS in Japan in the Context of COVID-19
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 949-956; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040087 - 05 Nov 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
In January 2018, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, released an amended Guideline on the Prevention of Specified Infectious Diseases on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to propose measures to control the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS. Content analysis was performed to examine [...] Read more.
In January 2018, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, released an amended Guideline on the Prevention of Specified Infectious Diseases on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to propose measures to control the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS. Content analysis was performed to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the guidelines in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thus aiming to promote discussions on the guideline itself and the national HIV/AIDS strategy in Japan in the years ahead. The strengths included the incorporation of the latest scientific advancements, clarification of high-risk populations, an alignment with measures against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and willingness towards international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The weaknesses that were exposed included a lack of explicit targets for controlling and containing HIV/AIDS, insufficient descriptions about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and aggregated discussions on HIV/AIDS among foreign residents. Although several opportunities for re-energizing the discussions around HIV/AIDS were recognized, insufficient political will and funding, along with the emergence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could operate as threats. Addressing barriers that were recognized before 2019 and exposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and tackling underlying health inequalities through the concept of social determinants of health will be critical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Human Toxocariasis in Portugal—An Overview of a Neglected Zoonosis over the Last Decade (2010–2020)
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 938-948; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040086 - 04 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Toxocariasis is one of the most widespread and important zoonotic parasitic diseases, although neglected. Data regarding human Toxocara infection in Portugal are almost absent. This article gives an overview of the situation of toxocariasis in Portugal over the last decade based on casuistic [...] Read more.
Toxocariasis is one of the most widespread and important zoonotic parasitic diseases, although neglected. Data regarding human Toxocara infection in Portugal are almost absent. This article gives an overview of the situation of toxocariasis in Portugal over the last decade based on casuistic data. A total of 846 serum samples from individuals suspected of toxocariasis, collected from 2010 to 2020, were analyzed at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Sera were tested for IgG antibodies to Toxocara canis excreted–secreted larval antigens by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and counterimmunoelectrophoresis. Positivity was detected in 18.8% (159/846) [CI 95%: 16.3–21.6], with positives detected throughout continental Portugal. Overall, 59.7% of the positives were diagnosed in younger than 20 years (35.2% aged 0–9 years and 24.5% aged 10–19 years). Eosinophilia was the most frequent feature reported (27.7%). Pediatrics (41.5%) and Infectiology (25.8%) were the specialties with the highest number of positives. An average of 77 samples/year were received, recording a maximum positivity in 2012 (41.5%, n = 27/65) and a minimum in 2020 (6.4%, n = 3/47). These numbers may reflect the effectiveness of current preventive measures, highlighting the need to maintain public awareness to control this helminthozoonosis and promote a higher public health standard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitological Diseases)
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Article
Prognostic Role of Anemia in COVID-19 Patients: A Meta-Analysis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 930-937; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040085 - 31 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Introduction. The prevalence and prognostic implications of anemia in patients infected by the SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the prevalence and mortality risk in COVID-19 patients with anemia. Methods. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and [...] Read more.
Introduction. The prevalence and prognostic implications of anemia in patients infected by the SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the prevalence and mortality risk in COVID-19 patients with anemia. Methods. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed in abstracting data and assessing validity. We searched MEDLINE and Scopus to locate all the articles published up to 1 September 2021, reporting data on the adjusted OR (aOR) for mortality among COVID-19 patients with anemia. The pooled prevalence of anemia among COVID-19 patients was calculated using a random effects model and presenting the related 95% confidence interval (CI), while the mortality risk was estimated using the Mantel-Haenszel random effects models with odds ratio (aOR) and related 95% CI. Statistical heterogeneity was measured using the Higgins I2 statistic. Results. Five studies, enrolling 9.623 COVID-19 patients [3.707 males (38.5%)], met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. The pooled prevalence of anemia was 25.6% of cases (95% CI: 8.3–56.5%), with high heterogeneity (I2 = 98.9%). Meta-regression showed that the anemia prevalence was influenced by a direct correlation with age (p = 0.007) and chronic kidney disease (p = 0.004) as moderating variables. Conversely, an inverse relationship was observed with male gender (p < 0.0001). Anemia was significantly associated with higher risk of short-term mortality (aOR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1.28–2.24, p < 0.001), with low heterogeneity (I2 = 0%). Conclusions. Anemia represents a major comorbidity in about 25% of COVID-19 patients and it is associated with about 70% higher risk of short-term mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Review
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster: To Boost or Not to Boost
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 924-929; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040084 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Developing safe and effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at a breakneck speed has been an exceptional human achievement. It remains our best hope of containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, newer, more aggressive SARS-CoV-2 viral strains, [...] Read more.
Developing safe and effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at a breakneck speed has been an exceptional human achievement. It remains our best hope of containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, newer, more aggressive SARS-CoV-2 viral strains, as well as the possibility of fading immunity following vaccination, have prompted health officials to investigate the necessity for additional immunization. This has put further pressure on disregarded human life in lower-income countries that already have minimal access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a third COVID-19 vaccine dose in immunocompromised individuals in a recent announcement. Governments and health care officials need to develop usage guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses while considering the dangers of potential waning immunity and new viral strains and prioritizing vulnerable populations everywhere, including those living in lower-income countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Vaccines)
Case Report
Autochthonous North American Leprosy: A Second Case in Canada
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 917-923; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040083 - 22 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Autochthonous leprosy was reported in the Southern USA in 2011 and has comprised an average of 34% of new cases from 2015 to 2020 in that country. We report a similar case in a patient from Western Canada. A 50-year old male patient [...] Read more.
Autochthonous leprosy was reported in the Southern USA in 2011 and has comprised an average of 34% of new cases from 2015 to 2020 in that country. We report a similar case in a patient from Western Canada. A 50-year old male patient presented with a four-year history of a chronic rash. Pathology stains revealed acid-fast bacilli prompting specialist referral. Examination was suspicious for leprosy, which was confirmed on slit skin smears and molecular testing. The patient responded well to treatment. Genotypic testing mapped the organism to the 3I-2 SNP type, which is of European origin and is the type found in implicated armadillo species in North America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Serology Testing in an Asymptomatic, At-Risk Population: Methods, Results, Pitfalls
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 910-916; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040082 - 21 Oct 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
The primary aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a population of pediatric healthcare workers (HCWs). This study was conducted 14 May–13 July 2020. Study participants included pediatric HCWs at a pediatric hospital with either direct patient [...] Read more.
The primary aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a population of pediatric healthcare workers (HCWs). This study was conducted 14 May–13 July 2020. Study participants included pediatric HCWs at a pediatric hospital with either direct patient contact or close proximity to patient-care areas. SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were assessed via the Wytcote Superbio SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgG Antibody Fast Detection Kit and the Abbott Architect SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay. Participants underwent RT-PCR testing upon entry to the study and following rapid IgM+/IgG+ results; respiratory panel PCR (RP-PCR) was performed following IgM+ results. A total of 57 of 289 (19.7%) of participants demonstrated positive serology as assessed by the Wytcote rapid kit (12 on Day 1 and 45 throughout the study). However, only one of these participants demonstrated IgG+ serology via the Abbott assay. Two participants tested SARS-CoV-2+ via RT-PCR testing. One individual was adenovirus+ and enterovirus/rhinovirus+. In our study population, we observed a seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies of 0.35%. The lack of concordance between antibody tests suggests that the Wytcote rapid test kit may not be of use as a screening tool. However, the feasibility of the overall process indicates that a similar methodology may have potential for future epidemiologic surveillance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Brief Report
Emerging Role of Neuropilin-1 and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2 in Renal Carcinoma-Associated COVID-19 Pathogenesis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 902-909; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040081 - 16 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a recently identified glycoprotein that is an important host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. On the other hand, angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) acts as a receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, both NRP1 and ACE2 express in the kidney and are associated with various [...] Read more.
Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a recently identified glycoprotein that is an important host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. On the other hand, angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) acts as a receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, both NRP1 and ACE2 express in the kidney and are associated with various renal diseases, including renal carcinoma. Therefore, the expression profiles of NRP1 and ACE2 in kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) and kidney renal papillary cell carcinoma (KIRP) patients from the various cancer databases were investigated along with their impact on patients’ survivability. In addition, coexpression analysis of genes involved in COVID-19, KIRC, and KIRP concerning NRP1 and ACE2 was performed. The results demonstrated that both t NRP1 and ACE2 expressions are upregulated in KIRC and KIRP compared to healthy conditions and are significantly correlated with the survivability rate of KIRC patients. A total of 128 COVID-19-associated genes are coexpressed, which are positively associated with NRP1 and ACE2 both in KIRC and KIRP. Therefore, it might be suggested that, along with the ACE2, high expression of the newly identified host factor NRP1 in renal carcinomas may play a vital role in the increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and survivability of COVID-19 patients suffering from kidney cancers. The findings of this investigation will be helpful for further molecular studies and prevention and/or treatment strategies for COVID-19 patients associated with renal carcinomas. Full article
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Article
Side Effects Following Administration of the First Dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield Vaccine in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 888-901; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040080 - 11 Oct 2021
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Abstract
In response to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh started its vaccine administration in early 2021; however, due to the rapid development and launch of the vaccines in the market, many people had concerns regarding the safety of these vaccines. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
In response to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh started its vaccine administration in early 2021; however, due to the rapid development and launch of the vaccines in the market, many people had concerns regarding the safety of these vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the side effects that were experienced by the Bangladeshi residents after receiving the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine (ChAdOx1nCoV-19). The study was conducted using both online and printed questionnaires and the data were analysed using SPSS. The results included the responses of 474 vaccine recipients from March–April 2021. Pain at the site of injection, fever, myalgia, fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported symptoms, and the overall side effects were found to be significantly more prevalent in the younger population (p ≤ 0.05). These findings were consistent with the results indicated by the clinical trial of ChAdOx1nCoV-19. Logistic regression analysis further revealed that compared to people aged 70 years or above, the incidence of reported side effects was significantly higher in people aged 18–30 years (odds ratio (OR) = 8.56), 31–40 years, (OR = 5.05), 41–50 years (OR = 4.08), 51–60 years (OR = 3.77) and 61–70 years (OR = 3.67). In addition, a significantly higher percentage of female participants suffered from post-vaccination side effects compared to males (OR = 1.51). It was concluded that the Covishield vaccine was well-tolerated among people of different age groups. Nevertheless, further long-term follow-up study with a larger sample size is warranted to establish the long-term safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. Full article
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Systematic Review
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the LGBTQ+ Population: A Systematic Review
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 872-887; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040079 - 07 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1099
Abstract
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately impacted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) people. Despite developing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, LGBTQ+ communities still faces challenges due to inequitable access and vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in the acceptance or [...] Read more.
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately impacted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) people. Despite developing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, LGBTQ+ communities still faces challenges due to inequitable access and vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in the acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services. Various studies have explored and tried to address factors influencing vaccine hesitancy. However, the LGBTQ+ population remains under- and misrepresented in many of these studies. According to the few studies that have focused on the LGBTQ+ population, several factors influencing vaccine hesitancy have been identified, with the most common factors in studies being concern about vaccine safety, vaccine efficacy, and history of bad experiences with healthcare providers. In order to rebuild the confidence of LGBTQ+ people in vaccines, governments, healthcare policymakers, and healthcare providers need to start by acknowledging, and then resolving, these disparities; building trust; dismantling systemic suppression and discrimination; and prioritizing the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in research studies and public health policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Vaccines)
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Editorial
The COVID-19 Pandemic Seen from a Syndemic Perspective: The LGBTQIA2SP+ Community
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 865-871; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040078 - 03 Oct 2021
Viewed by 476
Abstract
An adverse condition or a disease can (either directly or indirectly) interact in a synergistic fashion with other adverse conditions or diseases/maladies, and co-cluster together with them: this fundamental observation is at the basis of the term “syndemic” (a portmanteau for “synergistic epidemic”) [...] Read more.
An adverse condition or a disease can (either directly or indirectly) interact in a synergistic fashion with other adverse conditions or diseases/maladies, and co-cluster together with them: this fundamental observation is at the basis of the term “syndemic” (a portmanteau for “synergistic epidemic”) [...] Full article
Case Report
Convalescent Plasma in a Patient with Protracted COVID-19 and Secondary Hypogammaglobulinemia Due to Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Buying Time to Develop Immunity?
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 855-864; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040077 - 27 Sep 2021
Viewed by 479
Abstract
It is not exactly clear yet which type of immune response prevails to accomplish viral clearance in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Studying a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and hypogammaglobulinemia who suffered from COVID-19 provided insight in the immunological responses after treatment with [...] Read more.
It is not exactly clear yet which type of immune response prevails to accomplish viral clearance in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Studying a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and hypogammaglobulinemia who suffered from COVID-19 provided insight in the immunological responses after treatment with COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP). Treatment consisted of oxygen, repeated glucocorticosteroids and multiple dosages of CCP guided by antibody levels. Retrospectively performed humoral and cellular immunity analysis made clear that not every serological test for COVID-19 is appropriate for follow-up of sufficient neutralizing antibodies after CCP. In retrospect, we think that CCP merely bought time for this patient to develop an adequate cellular immune response which led to viral clearance and ultimately clinical recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infections in the Immuncompromised Host)
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