Special Issue "COVID-19: Focusing on Epidemiologic, Virologic, and Clinical Studies"

A special issue of Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607). This special issue belongs to the section "Medical Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Fausto Baldanti
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric Sciences, University of Pavia/Molecular Virology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy
Interests: respiratory viruses; coronavirus; diagnostics; immune response; pathogenesis
Prof. Dr. Raffaele Bruno
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric Sciences, University of Pavia/Infectious Diseases Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy
Interests: viral infections; treatment; clinical impact; antiviral drugs; clinical picture
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

We are all personally involved this very moment in history in the largest outbreak outside China of COVID-19; as such, I am positive that the more data we can gather and the more we know about this new clinical entity, the better equipped the scientific and medical community will be to fight back.

Thus, I believe that the readership of Microorganisms will greatly appreciate a collection of updated epidemiologic, virologic, and clinically-oriented papers on the many obscure aspects of this new pandemic.

In more detail, these are some of the most pressing questions in this topic:
1. Epidemiologic aspects: i) Is the infection kinetics the same in different countries? ii) What is the impact of different demographic composition on lethality and mortality rate? iii) What is the impact of different countermeasures on the SARS-CoV2 spread? v) Seroprevalence? vi) R0 and Rt in different countries?
2. Virology: i) Innovative molecular assays? ii) What is the impact of serologic assays on rapid diagnostics? iii) Drug susceptibility? iv) Genetic variability? v) Humoral and T-cell response kinetics?
3. Clinical: i) What is the Sars-CoV2 load and disease progression? ii) What is the effect of experimental drugs on virologic and clinical recovery? iii) NT levels and disease progression? iv) progression scores? v) COVID-associated clinical pictures? vi) risk factors for disease progression and death?

Prof. Fausto Baldanti
Prof. Dr. Raffaele Bruno
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. Microorganisms 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 1600 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

  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • epidemics
  • diagnosis
  • antiviral treatment
  • clinical presentation
  • molecular epidemiology
  • outbreak
  • risk factors
  • prognostic parameters
  • pathogenesis
  • immune response
  • sequencing

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication
Calcineurin Inhibitor-Based Immunosuppression and COVID-19: Results from a Multidisciplinary Cohort of Patients in Northern Italy
Microorganisms 2020, 8(7), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8070977 - 30 Jun 2020
Abstract
The role of immunosuppression in SARS-CoV-2-related disease (COVID-19) is a matter of debate. We here describe the course and the outcome of COVID-19 in a cohort of patients undergoing treatment with calcineurin inhibitors. In this monocentric cohort study, data were collected from the [...] Read more.
The role of immunosuppression in SARS-CoV-2-related disease (COVID-19) is a matter of debate. We here describe the course and the outcome of COVID-19 in a cohort of patients undergoing treatment with calcineurin inhibitors. In this monocentric cohort study, data were collected from the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy up to 28 April 2020. Patients were followed at our hospital for solid organ transplantation or systemic rheumatic disorders (RMDs) and were on calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-based therapy. Selected patients were referred from the North of Italy. The aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical course of COVID-19 in this setting. We evaluated 385 consecutive patients (220 males, 57%; median age 61 years, IQR 48–69); 331 (86%) received solid organ transplantation and 54 (14%) had a RMD. CNIs were the only immunosuppressant administered in 47 patients (12%). We identified 14 (4%) COVID-19 patients, all transplanted, mainly presenting with fever (86%) and diarrhea (71%). Twelve patients were hospitalized and two of them died, both with severe comorbidities. No patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome or infectious complications. The surviving 10 patients are now fully recovered. The clinical course of COVID-19 patients on CNIs is generally mild, and the risk of superinfection seems low. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: Focusing on Epidemiologic, Virologic, and Clinical Studies)
Open AccessArticle
Tocilizumab for Treatment of Severe COVID-19 Patients: Preliminary Results from SMAtteo COvid19 REgistry (SMACORE)
Microorganisms 2020, 8(5), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8050695 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Objective: This study aimed to assess the role of Tocilizumab therapy (TCZ) in terms of ICU admission and mortality rate of critically ill patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Design: Patients with COVID-19 pneumonia were prospectively enrolled in SMAtteo COvid19 REgistry (SMACORE). A retrospective [...] Read more.
Objective: This study aimed to assess the role of Tocilizumab therapy (TCZ) in terms of ICU admission and mortality rate of critically ill patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Design: Patients with COVID-19 pneumonia were prospectively enrolled in SMAtteo COvid19 REgistry (SMACORE). A retrospective analysis of patients treated with TCZ matched using propensity score to patients treated with Standard Of Care (SOC) was conducted. Setting: The study was conducted at IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Hospital, Pavia, Italy, from March 14, 2020 to March 27, 2020. Participants: Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 hospitalized in our institution at the time of TCZ availability. Interventions: TCZ was administered to 21 patients. The first administration was 8 mg/kg (up to a maximum 800 mg per dose) of Tocilizumab intravenously, repeated after 12 h if no side effects were reported after the first dose. Main Outcomes and Measures: ICU admission and 7-day mortality rate. Secondary outcomes included clinical and laboratory data. Results: There were 112 patients evaluated (82 were male and 30 were female, with a median age of 63.55 years). Using propensity scores, the 21 patients who received TCZ were matched to 21 patients who received SOC (a combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and prophylactic dose of low weight heparin). No adverse event was detected following TCZ administration. This study found that treatment with TCZ did not significantly affect ICU admission (OR 0.11; 95% CI between 0.00 and 3.38; p = 0.22) or 7-day mortality rate (OR 0.78; 95% CI between 0.06 and 9.34; p = 0.84) when compared with SOC. Analysis of laboratory measures showed significant interactions between time and treatment regarding C-Reactive Protein (CRP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), platelets and international normalized ratio (INR) levels. Variation in lymphocytes count was observed over time, irrespective of treatment. Conclusions: TCZ administration did not reduce ICU admission or mortality rate in a cohort of 21 patients. Additional data are needed to understand the effect(s) of TCZ in treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: Focusing on Epidemiologic, Virologic, and Clinical Studies)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
From Wuhan to COVID-19 Pandemic: An Up-to-Date Review of Its Pathogenesis, Potential Therapeutics, and Recent Advances
Microorganisms 2020, 8(6), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060850 - 04 Jun 2020
Abstract
The emergence of a novel human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing severe contagious respiratory tract infections presents a serious threat to public health worldwide. To date, there are no specific antiviral agents available for this disease, currently known as COVID-19. Therefore, genomic sequencing and therapeutic [...] Read more.
The emergence of a novel human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing severe contagious respiratory tract infections presents a serious threat to public health worldwide. To date, there are no specific antiviral agents available for this disease, currently known as COVID-19. Therefore, genomic sequencing and therapeutic clinical trials are being conducted to develop effective antiviral agents. Several reports have investigated FDA-approved drugs as well as in silico virtual screening approaches such as molecular docking and modeling to find novel antiviral agents. Until now, antiparasitic drugs such as chloroquine have shown the most relevant results. Furthermore, there is an urgent need to understand the pathogenesis of this novel coronavirus, its transmission routes, surface survival and evolution in the environment. So far, the scientific community has indicated a possible transmission of COVID-19 via blood transfusion which is challenging in the case of asymptomatic individuals. Protocols for pathogen inactivation are also needed. In this paper, we reviewed recent findings about this life-threatening pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: Focusing on Epidemiologic, Virologic, and Clinical Studies)
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