Special Issue "COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice"

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Infectious Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Corrao

Guest Editor
National Relevance and High Specialization Hospital Trust ARNAS Civico, Di Cristina, Benfratelli, 90127 Palermo, Italy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Roland Bingisser
Website
Guest Editor
Emergency Department, Hospital Basel, University of Basel, Petersgraben 2, 4031 Basel, Switzerland
Interests: risk stratification in emergency medicine, triage, work-up, and disposition; geriatric emergency medicine; infectious disease; pulmonary disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

COVID-19 has caused a global crisis resulting from one of the most massive pandemics in human history. The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads very easily and quickly, but only a percentage of cases develop the disease, and an even lower proportion develops a very serious or fatal one. Gender differences have been recognized, and new hypotheses on the clinical impact of underlying conditions have been raised. This Special Issue aims to include high-quality research on both the pathophysiological aspects of COVID-19 and its clinical characteristics. Particular attention will be given both to comorbidities and new pathophysiological hypotheses. All clinical issues, including gender differences, genetic predisposition, medical and ethical aspects of triage, emergency and intensive medicine, and randomized controlled trials, will be considered a priority.

Furthermore, autopsy studies on the causes of death and new hypotheses on therapies based on pre-clinical studies will be welcome, as well as all useful interventions to face this pandemic and improve the quality of life of the affected patients. A safety perspective is necessary in these times in which various therapies are tested without robust evidence. For this reason, safety reports will be welcome as well.

Prof. Dr. Salvatore Corrao
Prof. Dr. Roland Bingisser
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Clinical Medicine is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • gender differences
  • comorbidities
  • pathophysiology
  • clinical practice
  • pathogenetic hypothesis
  • genetics
  • ethical issues
  • intensive medicine
  • autopsy
  • therapeutics
  • Adverse Drug Reaction
  • randomized controlled trials

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Clinical Characteristics and Disease Progression in Early-Stage COVID-19 Patients in South Korea
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1959; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061959 - 23 Jun 2020
Abstract
A rapid increase in the number of patients with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) may overwhelm the available medical resources. We aimed to evaluate risk factors for disease severity in the early stages of COVID-19. The cohort comprised 293 patients with COVID-19 from 5 [...] Read more.
A rapid increase in the number of patients with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) may overwhelm the available medical resources. We aimed to evaluate risk factors for disease severity in the early stages of COVID-19. The cohort comprised 293 patients with COVID-19 from 5 March 2020, to 18 March 2020. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) classification system was used to triage patients. The clinical course was summarized, including the impact of drugs (angiotensin II receptor blockers [ARB], ibuprofen, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors [DPP4i]) and the therapeutic effect of lopinavir/ritonavir. After adjusting for confounding variables, prior history of drug use, including ARB, ibuprofen, and DPP4i was not a risk factor associated with disease progression. Patients treated with lopinavir/ritonavir had significantly shorter progression-free survival than those not receiving lopinavir/ritonavir. KCDC classification I clearly distinguished the improvement/stabilization group from the progression group of COVID-19 patients (AUC 0.817; 95% CI, 0.740–0.895). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 PCR Assays Developed by WHO Referral Laboratories
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1871; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061871 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
A reliable diagnostic assay is crucial to early detect new COVID-19 cases and limit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization has published several diagnostic molecular approaches developed by referral laboratories, [...] Read more.
A reliable diagnostic assay is crucial to early detect new COVID-19 cases and limit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization has published several diagnostic molecular approaches developed by referral laboratories, including Charité (Germany), HKU (Hong Kong), China CDC (China), US CDC (United States), and Institut Pasteur, Paris (France). We aimed to compare the sensitivity and specificity of these different RT-PCR assays using SARS-CoV-2 cell culture supernatants and clinical respiratory samples. Overall, the different RT-PCR assays performed well for SARS-CoV-2 detection and were all specific except the N Charité (Germany), and N2 US CDC (United States) assays. RdRp Institut Pasteur (IP2, IP4), N China CDC, and N1 US CDC were found to be the most sensitive assays. The data presented herein are of prime importance to facilitate the equipment choice of diagnostic laboratories, as well as for the development of marketed tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Overt Coagulopathy in Non-ICU Patients with Mild to Moderate COVID-19 Pneumonia
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1781; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061781 - 08 Jun 2020
Abstract
Introduction: Aim of the study is to assess the occurrence of early stage coagulopathy and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in patients with mild to moderate respiratory distress secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Materials and methods: Data of patients hospitalized from 18 March 2020 to [...] Read more.
Introduction: Aim of the study is to assess the occurrence of early stage coagulopathy and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) in patients with mild to moderate respiratory distress secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Materials and methods: Data of patients hospitalized from 18 March 2020 to 20 April 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Two scores for the screening of coagulopathy (SIC and non-overt DIC scores) were calculated. The occurrence of thrombotic complication, death, and worsening respiratory function requiring non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or admission to ICU were recorded, and these outcomes were correlated with the results of each score. Chi-square test, receiver-operating characteristic curve, and logistic regression analysis were used as appropriate. p Values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Results: Data of 32 patients were analyzed. Overt-DIC was diagnosed in two patients (6.2%), while 26 (81.2%) met the criteria for non-overt DIC. Non-overt DIC score values ≥4 significantly correlated with the need of NIV/ICU (p = 0.02) and with the occurrence of thrombotic complications (p = 0.04). A score ≥4 was the optimal cut-off value, performing better than SIC score (p = 0.0018). Values ≥4 in patients with thrombotic complications were predictive of death (p = 0.03). Conclusions: Overt DIC occurred in 6.2% of non-ICU patients hospitalized for a mild to moderate COVID-19 respiratory distress, while 81.2% fulfilled the criteria for non-overt DIC. The non-overt DIC score performed better than the SIC score in predicting the need of NIV/ICU and the occurrence of thrombotic complications, as well as in predicting mortality in patients with thrombotic complications, with a score ≥4 being detected as the optimal cut-off. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
A Cohort of Patients with COVID-19 in a Major Teaching Hospital in Europe
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061733 - 04 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Since the confirmation of the first patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Spain in January 2020, the epidemic has grown rapidly, with the greatest impact on the region of Madrid. This article describes the first 2226 adult patients with COVID-19, consecutively admitted to [...] Read more.
Background: Since the confirmation of the first patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Spain in January 2020, the epidemic has grown rapidly, with the greatest impact on the region of Madrid. This article describes the first 2226 adult patients with COVID-19, consecutively admitted to La Paz University Hospital in Madrid. Methods: Our cohort included all patients consecutively hospitalized who had a final outcome (death or discharge) in a 1286-bed hospital of Madrid (Spain) from 25 February (first case admitted) to 19 April 2020. The data were manually entered into an electronic case report form, which was monitored prior to the analysis. Results: We consecutively included 2226 adult patients admitted to the hospital who either died (460) or were discharged (1766). The patients’ median age was 61 years, and 51.8% were women. The most common comorbidity was arterial hypertension (41.3%), and the most common symptom on admission was fever (71.2%). The median time from disease onset to hospital admission was 6 days. The overall mortality was 20.7% and was higher in men (26.6% vs. 15.1%). Seventy-five patients with a final outcome were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) (3.4%). Most patients admitted to the ICU were men, and the median age was 64 years. Baseline laboratory values on admission were consistent with an impaired immune-inflammatory profile. Conclusions: We provide a description of the first large cohort of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Europe. Advanced age, male sex, the presence of comorbidities and abnormal laboratory values were more common among the patients with fatal outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Outcomes of COVID-19 among Patients on In-Center Hemodialysis: An Experience from the Epicenter in South Korea
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1688; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061688 - 02 Jun 2020
Abstract
Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) or who are on hemodialysis (HD) could have increased susceptibility to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) given their pre-existing comorbidities, older age, compromised immune system, and regular visits to populated outpatient dialysis centers. This study included [...] Read more.
Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) or who are on hemodialysis (HD) could have increased susceptibility to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) given their pre-existing comorbidities, older age, compromised immune system, and regular visits to populated outpatient dialysis centers. This study included 14 consecutive patients on HD or with advanced CKD who initiated HD after being diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from February to April 2020 in hospitals throughout Daegu, South Korea. The included patients, 42.9% of whom were men, had a mean age of 63.5 years. Four patients had a history of contact with a patient suffering from COVID-19. The most common symptom was cough (50.0%), followed by dyspnea (35.7%). The mean time from symptom onset to diagnosis and admission was 2.6 and 3.5 days, respectively. Patients exhibited lymphopenia and elevated inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein and ferritin. Chest radiography findings showed pulmonary infiltration in 10 patients. All patients underwent regular HD in a negative pressure room and received antiviral agents. Four patients received mechanical ventilation and continuous renal replacement therapy at a median duration of 14.0 and 8.5 days, respectively. One patient underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for three days. Among the 14 patients included, two died due to acute respiratory distress syndrome, nine were discharged from the hospital, and three remained hospitalized. Despite the high-risk conditions associated with worse outcomes, patients on HD did not exhibit extremely poor overall COVID-19 outcomes perhaps due to early diagnosis, prompt hospitalization, and antiviral therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Machine Learning to Predict ICU Transfer in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061668 - 01 Jun 2020
Abstract
Objectives: Approximately 20–30% of patients with COVID-19 require hospitalization, and 5–12% may require critical care in an intensive care unit (ICU). A rapid surge in cases of severe COVID-19 will lead to a corresponding surge in demand for ICU care. Because of constraints [...] Read more.
Objectives: Approximately 20–30% of patients with COVID-19 require hospitalization, and 5–12% may require critical care in an intensive care unit (ICU). A rapid surge in cases of severe COVID-19 will lead to a corresponding surge in demand for ICU care. Because of constraints on resources, frontline healthcare workers may be unable to provide the frequent monitoring and assessment required for all patients at high risk of clinical deterioration. We developed a machine learning-based risk prioritization tool that predicts ICU transfer within 24 h, seeking to facilitate efficient use of care providers’ efforts and help hospitals plan their flow of operations. Methods: A retrospective cohort was comprised of non-ICU COVID-19 admissions at a large acute care health system between 26 February and 18 April 2020. Time series data, including vital signs, nursing assessments, laboratory data, and electrocardiograms, were used as input variables for training a random forest (RF) model. The cohort was randomly split (70:30) into training and test sets. The RF model was trained using 10-fold cross-validation on the training set, and its predictive performance on the test set was then evaluated. Results: The cohort consisted of 1987 unique patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and admitted to non-ICU units of the hospital. The median time to ICU transfer was 2.45 days from the time of admission. Compared to actual admissions, the tool had 72.8% (95% CI: 63.2–81.1%) sensitivity, 76.3% (95% CI: 74.7–77.9%) specificity, 76.2% (95% CI: 74.6–77.7%) accuracy, and 79.9% (95% CI: 75.2–84.6%) area under the receiver operating characteristics curve. Conclusions: A ML-based prediction model can be used as a screening tool to identify patients at risk of imminent ICU transfer within 24 h. This tool could improve the management of hospital resources and patient-throughput planning, thus delivering more effective care to patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessArticle
Early Predictors of Clinical Deterioration in a Cohort of 239 Patients Hospitalized for Covid-19 Infection in Lombardy, Italy
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051548 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
We described features of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and identified predictors of clinical deterioration. We included patients consecutively admitted at Humanitas Research Hospital (Rozzano, Milan, Italy); retrospectively extracted demographic; clinical; laboratory and imaging findings at admission; used survival methods to identify factors associated with [...] Read more.
We described features of hospitalized Covid-19 patients and identified predictors of clinical deterioration. We included patients consecutively admitted at Humanitas Research Hospital (Rozzano, Milan, Italy); retrospectively extracted demographic; clinical; laboratory and imaging findings at admission; used survival methods to identify factors associated with clinical deterioration (defined as intensive care unit (ICU) transfer or death), and developed a prognostic index. Overall; we analyzed 239 patients (29.3% females) with a mean age of 63.9 (standard deviation [SD]; 14.0) years. Clinical deterioration occurred in 70 patients (29.3%), including 41 (17.2%) ICU transfers and 36 (15.1%) deaths. The most common symptoms and signs at admission were cough (77.8%) and elevated respiratory rate (34.1%), while 66.5% of patients had at least one coexisting medical condition. Imaging frequently revealed ground-glass opacity (68.9%) and consolidation (23.8%). Age; increased respiratory rate; abnormal blood gas parameters and imaging findings; coexisting coronary heart disease; leukocytosis; lymphocytopenia; and several laboratory parameters (elevated procalcitonin; interleukin-6; serum ferritin; C-reactive protein; aspartate aminotransferase; lactate dehydrogenase; creatinine; fibrinogen; troponin-I; and D-dimer) were significant predictors of clinical deterioration. We suggested a prognostic index to assist risk-stratification (C-statistic; 0.845; 95% CI; 0.802–0.887). These results could aid early identification and management of patients at risk, who should therefore receive additional monitoring and aggressive supportive care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Atherosclerosis as Pathogenetic Substrate for Sars-Cov2 Cytokine Storm
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2095; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072095 - 03 Jul 2020
Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2) outbreak is a public health emergency affecting different regions around the world. The lungs are often damaged due to the presence of Sars-CoV-2 binding receptor ACE2 on epithelial alveolar cells. Severity of infection varies from [...] Read more.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Sars-CoV-2) outbreak is a public health emergency affecting different regions around the world. The lungs are often damaged due to the presence of Sars-CoV-2 binding receptor ACE2 on epithelial alveolar cells. Severity of infection varies from complete absence of symptomatology to more aggressive symptoms, characterized by sudden acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiorgan failure, and sepsis, requiring treatment in intensive care unit (ICU). It is not still clear why the immune system is not able to efficiently suppress viral replication in a small percentage of patients. It has been documented as pathological conditions affecting the cardiovascular system, strongly associated to atherosclerotic progression, such as heart failure (HF), coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension (HTN) and diabetes mellitus (DM), could serve as predictive factors for severity and susceptibility during Sars-CoV-2 infection. Atherosclerotic progression, as a chronic inflammation process, is characterized by immune system dysregulation leading to pro-inflammatory patterns, including interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and IL-1β. Reviewing immune system and inflammation profiles in atherosclerosis and laboratory results reported in severe COVID-19 infections, we hypothesized a pathogenetic correlation. Atherosclerosis may be an ideal pathogenetic substrate for high viral replication ability, leading to adverse outcomes, as reported in patients with cardiovascular factors. The level of atherosclerotic progression may affect a different degree of severe infection; in a vicious circle, feeding itself, Sars-CoV-2 may exacerbate atherosclerotic evolution due to excessive and aberrant plasmatic concentration of cytokines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessReview
Role of Lopinavir/Ritonavir in the Treatment of Covid-19: A Review of Current Evidence, Guideline Recommendations, and Perspectives
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2050; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072050 - 30 Jun 2020
Abstract
A life-threatening respiratory illness (COVID-19) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 coronavirus was first described in December 2019 in Wuhan (China), rapidly evolving into a pandemic. In the first phase, when the viral replication plays a pivotal pathogenetic role, antiviral drugs could [...] Read more.
A life-threatening respiratory illness (COVID-19) due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 coronavirus was first described in December 2019 in Wuhan (China), rapidly evolving into a pandemic. In the first phase, when the viral replication plays a pivotal pathogenetic role, antiviral drugs could be crucial in limiting viral-induced organ damage. Unfortunately, there are no specific antivirals of proven efficacy for COVID-19, and several drugs have been repurposed to face this dramatic pandemic. In this paper we review the studies evaluating lopinavir/ritonavir association (LPV/r) use in COVID-19, and previously in SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). We searched PubMed to identify all relevant clinical and laboratory studies published up to 15 May 2020; the guidelines on the use of LPV/r in COVID-19 were further directly searched on the website of the main international scientific societies and agencies. Available evidence is currently scarce and of low quality. The recommendations issued for COVID-19 vary from positions clearly against the use of LPV/r to other positions that are more favorable. In our opinion, despite the controversial results of an important randomized clinical trial, and some recommendations, clinicians should not abandon the use of LPV/r for the treatment of COVID-19, possibly using this drug inside a prospective randomized trial, waiting for the results of the numerous ongoing trials evaluating its efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessReview
Exploring Sodium Glucose Co-Transporter-2 (SGLT2) Inhibitors for Organ Protection in COVID-19
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072030 - 28 Jun 2020
Abstract
Hospital admissions and mortality from the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are spreading throughout the world, and second and third waves are thought to be likely. Risk factors for severe COVID-19 include diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Currently, there is no [...] Read more.
Hospital admissions and mortality from the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are spreading throughout the world, and second and third waves are thought to be likely. Risk factors for severe COVID-19 include diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Currently, there is no vaccine and no approved therapy. Therapeutic approaches are aimed at preventing viral replication and spread, limiting the impact of the inflammatory overdrive (cytokine storm), preventing thromboembolic complications and replacing or supporting organ function. However, despite organ support, mortality is currently 65% for those receiving advanced respiratory support and 78% for those requiring renal replacement therapies. Thus, efforts should be made to provide adjuvant organ protection therapy. This may imply novel therapies in clinical development (e.g., the Fas ligand trap asunercept), but uptake of repurposed drugs already in clinical use may be faster. In this regard, sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors were recently shown to protect the heart and kidney both within and outside of a diabetic milieu context. Further, preclinical data support a beneficial effect for the lung. We now discuss the potential benefits and risks of SGLT2 inhibitors in COVID-19 and an ongoing clinical trial testing the impact of dapagliflozin on outcomes in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessReview
Clinical-Forensic Autopsy Findings to Defeat COVID-19 Disease: A Literature Review
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2026; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072026 - 28 Jun 2020
Abstract
The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 was identified for the first time in China, in December 2019. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world; indeed, this infection has been declared a pandemic. Consequently, the scientific community is working hard to [...] Read more.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 was identified for the first time in China, in December 2019. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported around the world; indeed, this infection has been declared a pandemic. Consequently, the scientific community is working hard to gain useful information about the history of this virus, its transmission, diagnosis, clinical features, radiological findings, research and development of candidate therapeutics as well as vaccines. This review aims to analyze the diagnostic techniques used to ascertain the COVID-19 infection, critically reviewing positive points and criticism for forensic implications, obviously including autopsy. Finally, this review proposes a practical workflow to be applied in the management of corpses during this outbreak of the COVID-19 infection, which could be useful in cases of future infectious disease emergencies. Analyzing the diagnostic methods, to date, virus nucleic acid RT-PCR represents the standard method used to ascertain the COVID-19 infection in living subjects and corpses, even if this technique has several criticisms: mainly, the staff should be highly specialized, working in high-throughput settings, able to handle high workloads and aware of health risks and the importance of the results. Thus, IgG/IgM serological tests have been developed, overcoming RT-qPCR duration, costs, and management, not requiring highly trained personnel. Nevertheless, serological tests present problems; the WHO recommends the use of these new point-of-care immunodiagnostic tests only in research settings. Furthermore, nothing has yet been published regarding the possibility of applying these methods during post-mortem investigations. In light of this scenario, in this review, we suggest a flow chart for the pathologist called on to ascertain the cause of death of a subject with historical and clinical findings of COVID-19 status or without any anamnestic, diagnostic, or exposure information. Indeed, the literature data confirmed the analytical vulnerabilities of the kits used for laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, particularly during postmortem examinations. For these reasons, autopsy remains the gold standard method to ascertain the exact cause of death (from or with COVID-19 infection, or other causes), to consequently provide real data for statistical evaluations and to take necessary measures to contain the risks of the infection. Moreover, performing autopsies could provide information on the pathogenesis of the COVID-19 infection with obvious therapeutic implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessReview
COVID-19 and Heart: From Clinical Features to Pharmacological Implications
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1944; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061944 - 22 Jun 2020
Abstract
A highly pathogenic human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been recently recognized in Wuhan, China, as the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak which has spread rapidly from China to other countries in the world, causing a [...] Read more.
A highly pathogenic human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been recently recognized in Wuhan, China, as the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak which has spread rapidly from China to other countries in the world, causing a pandemic with alarming morbidity and mortality. The emerging epidemiological data about COVID-19 patients suggest an association between cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and SARS-CoV-2 infection, in term of clinical features at hospital admission and prognosis for disease severity. The aim of our review is to describe the cardiological features of COVID-19 patients at admission, the acute cardiac presentation, the clinical outcome for patients with underlying CVD and the pharmacological implications for disease management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessReview
COVID-19 Related Coagulopathy: A Distinct Entity?
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061651 - 31 May 2020
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted healthcare communities across the globe on an unprecedented scale. Patients have had diverse clinical outcomes, but those developing COVID-19-related coagulopathy have shown a disproportionately worse outcome. This narrative review summarizes current evidence regarding the epidemiology, [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted healthcare communities across the globe on an unprecedented scale. Patients have had diverse clinical outcomes, but those developing COVID-19-related coagulopathy have shown a disproportionately worse outcome. This narrative review summarizes current evidence regarding the epidemiology, clinical features, known and presumed pathophysiology-based models, and treatment guidance regarding COVID-19 coagulopathy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Use of Saliva for Diagnosis and Monitoring the SARS-CoV-2: A General Perspective
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051491 - 15 May 2020
Abstract
In this report, updated information and future perspectives about the use of saliva as a sample for laboratory analysis of the Covid-19 are highlighted. Saliva can be used for the direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the quantification of the specific immunoglobulins produced [...] Read more.
In this report, updated information and future perspectives about the use of saliva as a sample for laboratory analysis of the Covid-19 are highlighted. Saliva can be used for the direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the quantification of the specific immunoglobulins produced against it, and for the evaluation of the non-specific, innate immune response of the patient. Moreover, a deeper knowledge of potential changes in the saliva proteome in this disease may allow the identification of new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, or even help our understanding of the mechanisms associated with the disease. With the development of appropriate sample collection and processing methods and the use of adequate assays, saliva can provide useful clinical information about the disease and could be potentially included in guidelines for sample collection for the diagnosis, disease management, and control of Covid-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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Other

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Open AccessCommentary
Does SARS-CoV-2 Trigger Stress-Induced Autoimmunity by Molecular Mimicry? A Hypothesis
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(7), 2038; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9072038 - 29 Jun 2020
Abstract
Viruses can generate molecular mimicry phenomena within their hosts. Why should
severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) not be considered one of these?
Information in this short review suggests that it might be so and, thus, encourages research aiming
at testing this [...] Read more.
Viruses can generate molecular mimicry phenomena within their hosts. Why should
severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) not be considered one of these?
Information in this short review suggests that it might be so and, thus, encourages research aiming
at testing this possibility. We propose, as a working hypothesis, that the virus induces antibodies
and that some of them crossreact with host’s antigens, thus eliciting autoimmune phenomena with
devasting consequences in various tissues and organs. If confirmed, by in vitro and in vivo tests,
this could drive researchers to find effective treatments against the virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
Open AccessPerspective
Silibinin and SARS-CoV-2: Dual Targeting of Host Cytokine Storm and Virus Replication Machinery for Clinical Management of COVID-19 Patients
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1770; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061770 - 07 Jun 2020
Abstract
COVID-19, the illness caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly spreading global pandemic in urgent need of effective treatments. Here we present a comprehensive examination of the host- and virus-targeted functions of the flavonolignan silibinin, a potential drug candidate [...] Read more.
COVID-19, the illness caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly spreading global pandemic in urgent need of effective treatments. Here we present a comprehensive examination of the host- and virus-targeted functions of the flavonolignan silibinin, a potential drug candidate against COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2. As a direct inhibitor of STAT3—a master checkpoint regulator of inflammatory cytokine signaling and immune response—silibinin might be expected to phenotypically integrate the mechanisms of action of IL-6-targeted monoclonal antibodies and pan-JAK1/2 inhibitors to limit the cytokine storm and T-cell lymphopenia in the clinical setting of severe COVID-19. As a computationally predicted, remdesivir-like inhibitor of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp)—the central component of the replication/transcription machinery of SARS-CoV-2—silibinin is expected to reduce viral load and impede delayed interferon responses. The dual ability of silibinin to target both the host cytokine storm and the virus replication machinery provides a strong rationale for the clinical testing of silibinin against the COVID-19 global public health emergency. A randomized, open-label, phase II multicentric clinical trial (SIL-COVID19) will evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of silibinin in the prevention of acute respiratory distress syndrome in moderate-to-severe COVID-19-positive onco-hematological patients at the Catalan Institute of Oncology in Catalonia, Spain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: From Pathophysiology to Clinical Practice)
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