State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia

A special issue of Vaccines (ISSN 2076-393X). This special issue belongs to the section "COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2023) | Viewed by 10464

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Social and Behavioral Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
Interests: developing and evaluating evidence-based (theory-based) health behavior change interventions; health behavior research (HBR); obesity prevention; mental health promotion, especially stress coping; community-based participatory research (CBPR) and evaluation; integrative mind-body-spirit interventions, especially yoga/meditation
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

It has been over two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of the pandemic, research went into overdrive to study this new disease. Through this experience, we learned the importance of conducting multidisciplinary research to bring forward innovative solutions. This journey is not going to end soon and would need more collective efforts to understand the transformative power of this pandemic towards endemicity. In the new phase of endemicity, we cannot expect the complete elimination of the virus; in fact, the virus will still be circulating in our communities. The problematic consequences of socio-economic disparities cannot be overlooked; it would need critical and radical solutions to confront the brutality of our systemic inequities. Through this Special Issue “State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia”, we aim to broaden our geographical horizons and welcome researchers from our scientific community to share their enlightening research. The overarching goal of this Special Issue is to strengthen the evidence stemming from the European and Asian continents to bolster public health policies and interventions. 

This Special Issue of Vaccines, entitled “State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia”, aims to cover the entire breadth of the topics related to the COVID-19 research being conducted in Europe and Asia.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies grounded in robust theoretical frameworks to promote COVID-19 protective behaviors, including vaccinations.
  • Studies related to proactive and coordinated communication efforts that emphasize the need for behavioral interventions.
  • Research to understand possible determinants of vaccine hesitancy.
  • Epidemiological studies involving projection estimates and those measuring the existing burden.
  • Studies proposing new interventions or evaluating existing programs for increasing the knowledge of the long-term effect of COVID-19. 

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Kavita Batra
Prof. Dr. Manoj Sharma
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Vaccines 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 2700 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.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 1229 KiB  
Article
COPD-Related Mortality before and after Mass COVID-19 Vaccination in Northern Italy
by Ugo Fedeli, Veronica Casotto, Claudio Barbiellini Amidei, Andrea Vianello and Gabriella Guarnieri
Vaccines 2023, 11(8), 1392; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines11081392 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1387
Abstract
Background/Objective: Little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality from COPD at the population level. The objective was to investigate COPD-related mortality throughout different epidemic waves in Italy before and after the vaccination campaign, which started in late December [...] Read more.
Background/Objective: Little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality from COPD at the population level. The objective was to investigate COPD-related mortality throughout different epidemic waves in Italy before and after the vaccination campaign, which started in late December 2020 and initially targeted the population aged ≥80 years. Methods: Death certificates of residents in Veneto (Northeastern Italy) aged ≥40 years between 2008 and 2021 were analyzed. Age-standardized morality rates were computed for death certificates with any mention of COPD. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were fitted to estimate the expected mortality during the pandemic. The results were stratified by age groups of 40–79 and ≥80 years, main comorbidities, and place of death. Results: COPD was mentioned in 3478 death certificates in 2020 (+14% compared to the 2018–2019 average) and in 3133 in 2021 (+3%). Age-standardized mortality rates increased in all age and sex groups in 2020; in 2021, mortality returned to pre-pandemic levels among the elderly but not in the population aged 40–79 years (+6%). GEE models confirmed this differential trend by age. COPD-related mortality peaks were observed, especially in the first pandemic waves, with COVID-19 identified as the underlying cause of death in a relevant proportion (up to 35% in November 2020–January 2021). Mortality with comorbid diabetes and hypertensive diseases slightly increased during the pandemic. Conclusion: COPD-related mortality increased at the beginning of the pandemic, due to deaths from COVID-19. The start of the vaccination campaign was associated with an important decline in COPD-related mortality, especially among the elderly, who first benefited from COVID-19 vaccines. The study findings show the role of mass vaccination in reducing COPD-related deaths during the later phases of the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia)
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14 pages, 5292 KiB  
Article
A Comprehensive Molecular and Clinical Investigation of Approved Anti-HCV Drugs Repurposing against SARS-CoV-2 Infection: A Glaring Gap between Benchside and Bedside Medicine
by Sneha Bansode, Pawan Kumar Singh, Meenakshi Tellis, Anita Chugh, Narendra Deshmukh, Mahesh Gupta, Savita Verma, Ashok Giri, Mahesh Kulkarni, Rakesh Joshi and Dhruva Chaudhary
Vaccines 2023, 11(3), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines11030515 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1969
Abstract
The limited availability of effective treatment against SARS-CoV-2 infection is a major challenge in managing COVID-19. This scenario has augmented the need for repurposing anti-virals for COVID-19 mitigation. In this report, the anti-SARS-CoV-2 potential of anti-HCV drugs such as daclatasvir (DCV) or ledipasvir [...] Read more.
The limited availability of effective treatment against SARS-CoV-2 infection is a major challenge in managing COVID-19. This scenario has augmented the need for repurposing anti-virals for COVID-19 mitigation. In this report, the anti-SARS-CoV-2 potential of anti-HCV drugs such as daclatasvir (DCV) or ledipasvir (LDP) in combination with sofosbuvir (SOF) was evaluated. The binding mode and higher affinity of these molecules with RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase of SARS-CoV-2 were apparent by computational analysis. In vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity depicted that SOF/DCV and SOF/LDP combination has IC50 of 1.8 and 2.0 µM, respectively, comparable to remdesivir, an approved drug for COVID-19. Furthermore, the clinical trial was conducted in 183 mild COVID-19 patients for 14 days to check the efficacy and safety of SOF/DCV and SOF/LDP compared to standard of care (SOC) in a parallel-group, hybrid, individually randomized, controlled clinical study. The primary outcomes of the study suggested no significant difference in negativity after 3, 7 and 14 days in both treatments. None of the patients displayed any worsening in the disease severity, and no mortality was observed in the study. Although, the post hoc exploratory analysis indicated significant normalization of the pulse rate showed in SOF/DCV and SOF/LDP treatment vs. SOC. The current study highlights the limitations of bench side models in predicting the clinical efficacy of drugs that are planned for repurposing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia)
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12 pages, 533 KiB  
Article
Dynamics of Anti-S IgG Antibodies Titers after the Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Manual and Craft Worker Population of Qatar
by Devendra Bansal, Hassan Atia, Mashael Al Badr, Mohamed Nour, Jazeel Abdulmajeed, Amal Hasan, Noora Al-Hajri, Lina Ahmed, Rumissa Ibrahim, Reham Zamel, Almuthana Mohamed, Hamad Pattalaparambil, Faisal Daraan, Adil Chaudhry, Sahar Oraby, Sahar El-Saleh, Sittana S. El-Shafie, Affra Faiz Al-Farsi, Jiji Paul, Ahmed Ismail, Hamad Eid Al-Romaihi, Mohammed Hamad Al-Thani, Suhail A. R. Doi, Susu M. Zughaier, Farhan Cyprian, Elmobashar Farag and Habib Hasan Farooquiadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Vaccines 2023, 11(3), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines11030496 - 21 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1760
Abstract
There is limited seroepidemiological evidence on the magnitude and long-term durability of antibody titers of mRNA and non-mRNA vaccines in the Qatari population. This study was conducted to generate evidence on long-term anti-S IgG antibody titers and their dynamics in individuals who have [...] Read more.
There is limited seroepidemiological evidence on the magnitude and long-term durability of antibody titers of mRNA and non-mRNA vaccines in the Qatari population. This study was conducted to generate evidence on long-term anti-S IgG antibody titers and their dynamics in individuals who have completed a primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule. A total of 300 male participants who received any of the following vaccines BNT162b2/Comirnaty, mRNA-1273, ChAdOx1-S/Covishield, COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen/Johnson, or BBIBP-CorV or Covaxin were enrolled in our study. All sera samples were tested by chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA) for the quantitative determination of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the S1 subunit of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (SARS-CoV-2 N-protein IgG) were also determined. Kaplan–Meier survival curves were used to compare the time from the last dose of the primary vaccination schedule to the time by which anti-S IgG antibody titers fell into the lowest quartile (range of values collected) for the mRNA and non-mRNA vaccines. Participants vaccinated with mRNA vaccines had higher median anti-S IgG antibody titers. Participants vaccinated with the mRNA-1273 vaccine had the highest median anti-S-antibody level of 13,720.9 AU/mL (IQR 6426.5 to 30,185.6 AU/mL) followed by BNT162b2 (median, 7570.9 AU/mL; IQR, 3757.9 to 16,577.4 AU/mL); while the median anti-S antibody titer for non-mRNA vaccinated participants was 3759.7 AU/mL (IQR, 2059.7–5693.5 AU/mL). The median time to reach the lowest quartile was 3.53 months (IQR, 2.2–4.5 months) and 7.63 months (IQR, 6.3–8.4 months) for the non-mRNA vaccine recipients and Pfizer vaccine recipients, respectively. However, more than 50% of the Moderna vaccine recipients did not reach the lowest quartile by the end of the follow-up period. This evidence on anti-S IgG antibody titers should be considered for informing decisions on the durability of the neutralizing activity and thus protection against infection after the full course of primary vaccination in individuals receiving different type (mRNA verus non-mRNA) vaccines and those with natural infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia)
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17 pages, 921 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake and Hesitancy among Pregnant and Lactating Women in Saudi Arabia
by Hayfa A. AlHefdhi, Syed Esam Mahmood, Manar Ahmed I. Alsaeedi, Haifa’ Hisham A. Alwabel, Mariam Salem Alshahrani, Ebtihaj Yahya Alshehri, Rawan Ahmed O. Alhamlan and Maram Nawar Alosaimi
Vaccines 2023, 11(2), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines11020361 - 5 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1894
Abstract
Introduction: Pregnant and breastfeeding women comprise a high-risk group for the development of severe COVID-19. Therefore, vaccination is highly recommended for perinatal women; however, vaccination levels for this group remain inadequate. This study explores the percentage of COVID-19 vaccination among Saudi pregnant and [...] Read more.
Introduction: Pregnant and breastfeeding women comprise a high-risk group for the development of severe COVID-19. Therefore, vaccination is highly recommended for perinatal women; however, vaccination levels for this group remain inadequate. This study explores the percentage of COVID-19 vaccination among Saudi pregnant and lactating women, as well as their attitudes toward it. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey on a sample of Saudi pregnant and breastfeeding women. The study included pregnant and lactating women. Results: The percentage of COVID-19 vaccine uptake was 78.2%. A total of 45 (21.8%) out of 206 women did not receive the vaccine. The overall vaccine hesitancy was 21.8%. Breastfeeding women were 2.86 more likely not to receive the vaccine as compared to pregnant women. Being a mother of over five children increased the vaccine uptake among our participating women (n = 20, 90%; p < 0.01). The majority of the subjects had taken the Pfizer vaccine (81.98%, 132/161). The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine was the most common factor for choosing a particular vaccine. Protection from infection (60.2%, 97/161) was reported as the main driver for vaccine uptake. The most common reason perceived for delaying COVID-19 vaccination was being worried about the side effects (176, 85.44%) on one’s own body and the effects on the unborn child (130, 63.1%). Conclusion: We uncovered high levels of hesitancy, primarily induced by concerns about adverse effects and social media-related misinformation. These high levels of vaccine uptake are likely due to the large-scale obligatory vaccination program provided in Saudi Arabia, which was well-structured and far reaching. Our results provide further support for the so-called “protection motivation theory” in boosting vaccine acceptance. Counseling and educating pregnant and breastfeeding women about COVID-19 vaccination is the need of the hour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia)
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12 pages, 939 KiB  
Article
Community Perception and Attitude towards COVID-19 Vaccination for Children in Saudi Arabia
by Waddah M. Alalmaei Asiri, Ayed A. Shati, Syed E. Mahmood, Saleh M. Al-Qahtani, Youssef A. Alqahtani, Raghad M. Alhussain and Noura A. Alshehri
Vaccines 2023, 11(2), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines11020250 - 22 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2740
Abstract
Introduction: Vaccines are an important part of the COVID-19 pandemic response plan. This study was undertaken to find out the percentage of supporters in the Saudi population for COVID-19 vaccination among children, and to assess the study population’s perceptions towards COVID-19 vaccination among [...] Read more.
Introduction: Vaccines are an important part of the COVID-19 pandemic response plan. This study was undertaken to find out the percentage of supporters in the Saudi population for COVID-19 vaccination among children, and to assess the study population’s perceptions towards COVID-19 vaccination among children. Material and Methods: This nationwide study adopted a cross-sectional survey of adult participants, conducted by trained medical students. The anonymous questionnaire was published on social media tools. Statistical analysis was conducted using two-tailed tests. Results: Six hundred and twenty (620) participants were recruited for this study. Nearly 17.0% of participants had a chronic health problem/comorbidity. About 28.7% of the study participants reported having COVID-19 infection. The COVID-19 vaccine was received among 94.7% of the study respondents. The majority of the vaccination supporters (89.0%) wanted to get the third dose. There was a statistically significant association between the participant’s attitudes towards getting vaccinated themselves, and their attitude towards children’s vaccination. Vaccine newness, as a reason for hesitating to get vaccinated, was most reported among non-vaccine supporters. False religious beliefs were found to significantly influence the opposing attitude towards children’s vaccination. Conclusion: Health professionals and policy makers should implement and support strategies to ensure children are vaccinated against COVID-19. They also need to educate parents and families regarding the importance of vaccination against COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State of the art SARS-CoV-2 Research in Europe and Asia)
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