183 research outputs found

    Rare predicted loss-of-function variants of type I IFN immunity genes are associated with life-threatening COVID-19

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    BackgroundWe previously reported that impaired type I IFN activity, due to inborn errors of TLR3- and TLR7-dependent type I interferon (IFN) immunity or to autoantibodies against type I IFN, account for 15-20% of cases of life-threatening COVID-19 in unvaccinated patients. Therefore, the determinants of life-threatening COVID-19 remain to be identified in similar to 80% of cases.MethodsWe report here a genome-wide rare variant burden association analysis in 3269 unvaccinated patients with life-threatening COVID-19, and 1373 unvaccinated SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals without pneumonia. Among the 928 patients tested for autoantibodies against type I IFN, a quarter (234) were positive and were excluded.ResultsNo gene reached genome-wide significance. Under a recessive model, the most significant gene with at-risk variants was TLR7, with an OR of 27.68 (95%CI 1.5-528.7, P=1.1x10(-4)) for biochemically loss-of-function (bLOF) variants. We replicated the enrichment in rare predicted LOF (pLOF) variants at 13 influenza susceptibility loci involved in TLR3-dependent type I IFN immunity (OR=3.70[95%CI 1.3-8.2], P=2.1x10(-4)). This enrichment was further strengthened by (1) adding the recently reported TYK2 and TLR7 COVID-19 loci, particularly under a recessive model (OR=19.65[95%CI 2.1-2635.4], P=3.4x10(-3)), and (2) considering as pLOF branchpoint variants with potentially strong impacts on splicing among the 15 loci (OR=4.40[9%CI 2.3-8.4], P=7.7x10(-8)). Finally, the patients with pLOF/bLOF variants at these 15 loci were significantly younger (mean age [SD]=43.3 [20.3] years) than the other patients (56.0 [17.3] years; P=1.68x10(-5)).ConclusionsRare variants of TLR3- and TLR7-dependent type I IFN immunity genes can underlie life-threatening COVID-19, particularly with recessive inheritance, in patients under 60 years old

    Mapping hematologists' HIV testing behavior among lymphoma patients-A mixed-methods study

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    Background HIV testing among patients with malignant lymphoma (PWML) is variably implemented. We evaluated HIV testing among PWML, and mapped factors influencing hematologists' testing behavior. Materials We conducted a mixed-methods study assessing HIV testing among PWML, factors influencing HIV testing and opportunities for improvement in five hospitals in the region of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The proportion of PWML tested for HIV within 3 months before or after lymphoma diagnosis and percentage positive were assessed from January 2015 through June 2020. Questionnaires on intention, behavior and psychosocial determinants for HIV testing were conducted among hematologists. Through twelve semi-structured interviews among hematologists and authors of hematology guidelines, we further explored influencing factors and opportunities for improvement. Findings Overall, 1,612 PWML were included for analysis, including 976 patients newly diagnosed and 636 patients who were referred or with progressive/relapsed lymphoma. Seventy percent (678/976) of patients newly diagnosed and 54% (343/636) of patients with known lymphoma were tested for HIV. Overall, 7/1,021 (0.7%) PWML tested HIV positive, exceeding the 0.1% cost-effectiveness threshold. Questionnaires were completed by 40/77 invited hematologists, and 85% reported intention to test PWML for HIV. In the interviews, hematologists reported varying HIV testing strategies, including testing all PWML or only when lymphoma treatment is required. Recommendations for improved HIV testing included guideline adaptations, providing electronic reminders and monitoring and increasing awareness. Conclusions Missed opportunities for HIV testing among PWML occurred and HIV test strategies varied among hematologists. Efforts to improve HIV testing among PWML should include a combination of approaches

    Safe shortening of antibiotic treatment duration for complicated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAFE trial): Protocol for a randomised, controlled, open-label, non-inferiority trial comparing 4 and 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment

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    Introduction A major knowledge gap in the treatment of complicated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) is the optimal duration of antibiotic therapy. Safe shortening of antibiotic therapy has the potential to reduce adverse drug events, length of hospital stay and costs. The objective of the SAFE trial is to evaluate whether 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy is non-inferior to 6 weeks in patients with complicated SAB. Methods and analysis The SAFE-trial is a multicentre, non-inferiority, open-label, parallel group, randomised controlled trial evaluating 4 versus 6 weeks of antibiotic therapy for complicated SAB. The study is performed in 15 university hospitals and general hospitals in the Netherlands. Eligible patients are adults with methicillin-susceptible SAB with evidence of deep-seated or metastatic infection and/or predictors of complicated SAB. Only patients with a satisfactory clinical response to initial antibiotic treatment are included. Patients with infected prosthetic material or an undrained abscess of 5 cm or more at day 14 of adequate antibiotic treatment are excluded. Primary outcome is success of therapy after 180 days, a combined endpoint of survival without evidence of microbiologically confirmed disease relapse. Assuming a primary endpoint occurrence of 90% in the 6 weeks group, a non-inferiority margin of 7.5% is used. Enrolment of 396 patients in total is required to demonstrate non-inferiority of shorter antibiotic therapy with a power of 80%. Currently, 152 patients are enrolled in the study. Ethics and dissemination This is the first randomised controlled trial evaluating duration of antibiotic therapy for complicated SAB. Non-inferiority of 4 weeks of treatment would allow shortening of treatment duration in selected patients with complicated SAB. This study is approved by the Medical Ethics Committee VUmc (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and registered under NL8347 (the Netherlands Trial Register). Results of the study will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Trial registration number NL8347 (the Netherlands Trial Register)

    External validation of the PAGE-B score for HCC risk prediction in people living with HIV/HBV coinfection

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    Background & Aims: HBV coinfection is common among people living with HIV (PLWH) and is the most important cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). While risk prediction tools for HCC have been validated in patients with HBV monoinfection, they have not been evaluated in PLWH. Thus, we performed an external validation of PAGE-B in people with HIV/HBV coinfection. Methods: We included data on PLWH from four European cohorts who were positive for HBsAg and did not have HCC before starting tenofovir. We estimated the predictive performance of PAGE-B for HCC occurrence over 15 years in patients receiving tenofovir-containing antiretroviral therapy. Model discrimination was assessed after multiple imputation using Cox regression with the prognostic index as a covariate, and by calculating Harrell's c-index. Calibration was assessed by comparing our cumulative incidence with the PAGE-B derivation study using Kaplan-Meier curves. Results: In total, 2,963 individuals with HIV/HBV coinfection on tenofovir-containing antiretroviral therapy were included. PAGE-B was <10 in 26.5%, 10–17 in 57.7%, and ≄18 in 15.7% of patients. Within a median follow-up of 9.6 years, HCC occurred in 68 individuals (2.58/1,000 patient-years, 95% CI 2.03–3.27). The regression slope of the prognostic index for developing HCC within 15 years was 0.93 (95% CI 0.61–1.25), and the pooled c-index was 0.77 (range 0.73–0.80), both indicating good model discrimination. The cumulative incidence of HCC was lower in our study compared to the derivation study. A PAGE-B cut-off of <10 had a negative predictive value of 99.4% for the development of HCC within 5 years. Restricting efforts to individuals with a PAGE-B of ≄10 would spare unnecessary HCC screening in 27% of individuals. Conclusions: For individuals with HIV/HBV coinfection, PAGE-B is a valid tool to determine the need for HCC screening. Impact and implications: Chronic HBV infection is the most important cause of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) among people living with HIV. Valid risk prediction may enable better targeting of HCC screening efforts to high-risk individuals. We aimed to validate PAGE-B, a risk prediction tool that is based on age, sex, and platelets, in 2,963 individuals with HIV/HBV coinfection who received tenofovir-containing antiretroviral therapy. In the present study, PAGE-B showed good discrimination, adequate calibration, and a cut-off of <10 had a negative predictive value of 99.4% for the development of HCC within 5 years. These results indicate that PAGE-B is a simple and valid risk prediction tool to determine the need for HCC screening among people living with HIV and HBV

    Harmonizing and improving European education in prescribing: An overview of digital educational resources used in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics

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    Aim Improvement and harmonization of European clinical pharmacology and therapeutics (CPT) education is urgently required. Because digital educational resources can be easily shared, adapted to local situations and re-used widely across a variety of educational systems, they may be ideally suited for this purpose. Methods With a cross-sectional survey among principal CPT teachers in 279 out of 304 European medical schools, an overview and classification of digital resources was compiled. Results Teachers from 95 (34%) medical schools in 26 of 28 EU countries responded, 66 (70%) of whom used digital educational resources in their CPT curriculum. A total of 89 of such resources were described in detail, including e-learning (24%), simulators to teach pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics (10%), virtual patients (8%), and serious games (5%). Together, these resources covered 235 knowledge-based learning objectives, 88 skills, and 13 attitudes. Only one third (27) of the resources were in-part or totally free and only two were licensed open educational resources (free to use, distribute and adapt). A narrative overview of the largest, free and most novel resources is given. Conclusion Digital educational resources, ranging from e-learning to virtual patients and games, are widely used for CPT education in EU medical schools. Learning objectives are based largely on knowledge rather than skills or attitudes. This may be improved by including more real-life clinical case scenarios. Moreover, the majority of resources are neither free nor open. Therefore, with a view to harmonizing international CPT education, more needs to be learned about why CPT teachers are not currently sharing their educational materials.</div

    Neurofilament light increases over time in severe COVID-19 and is associated with delirium

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    Neurological monitoring in sedated Intensive Care Unit patients is constrained by the lack of reliable blood-based biomarkers. Neurofilament light is a cross-disease biomarker for neuronal damage with potential clinical applicability for monitoring Intensive Care Unit patients. We studied the trajectory of neurofilament light over a month in Intensive Care Unit patients diagnosed with severe COVID-19 and explored its relation to clinical outcomes and pathophysiological predictors. Data were collected over a month in 31 Intensive Care Unit patients (166 plasma samples) diagnosed with severe COVID-19 at Amsterdam University Medical Centre, and in the first week after emergency department admission in 297 patients with COVID-19 (635 plasma samples) admitted to Massachusetts General hospital. We observed that Neurofilament light increased in a non-linear fashion in the first month of Intensive Care Unit admission and increases faster in the first week of Intensive Care Unit admission when compared with mild-moderate COVID-19 cases. We observed that baseline Neurofilament light did not predict mortality when corrected for age and renal function. Peak neurofilament light levels were associated with a longer duration of delirium after extubation in Intensive Care Unit patients. Disease severity, as measured by the sequential organ failure score, was associated to higher neurofilament light values, and tumour necrosis factor alpha levels at baseline were associated with higher levels of neurofilament light at baseline and a faster increase during admission. These data illustrate the dynamics of Neurofilament light in a critical care setting and show associations to delirium, disease severity and markers for inflammation. Our study contributes to determine the clinical utility and interpretation of neurofilament light levels in Intensive Care Unit patients

    Anti-C5a antibody vilobelimab treatment and the effect on biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation in patients with severe COVID-19: a substudy of the phase 2 PANAMO trial

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    We recently reported in the phase 3 PANAMO trial that selectively blocking complement 5a (C5a) with vilobelimab led to improved survival in critically ill COVID-19 patients. C5a is an important contributor to the innate immune system and can also activate the coagulation system. High C5a levels have been reported in severely ill COVID-19 patients and correlate with disease severity and mortality. Previously, we assessed the potential benefit and safety of vilobelimab in severe COVID-19 patients. In the current substudy of the phase 2 PANAMO trial, we aim to explore the effects of vilobelimab on various biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation. Between March 31 and April 24, 2020, 17 patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia were enrolled in an exploratory, open-label, randomised phase 2 trial. Blood markers of complement, endothelial activation, epithelial barrier disruption, inflammation, neutrophil activation, neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation and coagulopathy were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or utilizing the Luminex platform. During the first 15 days after inclusion, change in biomarker concentrations between the two groups were modelled with linear mixed-effects models with spatial splines and compared. Eight patients were randomized to vilobelimab treatment plus best supportive care (BSC) and nine patients were randomized to BSC only. A significant decrease over time was seen in the vilobelimab plus BSC group for C5a compared to the BSC only group (p < 0.001). ADAMTS13 levels decreased over time in the BSC only group compared to the vilobelimab plus BSC group (p < 0.01) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) levels were statistically more suppressed in the vilobelimab plus BSC group compared to the BSC group (p = 0.03). Our preliminary results show that C5a inhibition decreases the inflammatory response and hypercoagulability, which likely explains the beneficial effect of vilobelimab in severe COVID-19 patients. Validation of these results in a larger sample size is warranted

    Do we become better prescribers after graduation: A 1-year international follow-up study among junior doctors

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    Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate how the prescribing knowledge and skills of junior doctors in the Netherlands and Belgium develop in the year after graduation. We also analysed differences in knowledge and skills between surgical and nonsurgical junior doctors. Methods: This international, multicentre (n = 11), longitudinal study analysed the learning curves of junior doctors working in various specialties via three validated assessments at about the time of graduation, and 6 months and 1 year after graduation. Each assessment contained 35 multiple choice questions (MCQs) on medication safety (passing grade ≄85%) and three clinical scenarios. Results: In total, 556 junior doctors participated, 326 (58.6%) of whom completed the MCQs and 325 (58.5%) the clinical case scenarios of all three assessments. Mean prescribing knowledge was stable in the year after graduation, with 69% (SD 13) correctly answering questions at assessment 1 and 71% (SD 14) at assessment 3, whereas prescribing skills decreased: 63% of treatment plans were considered adequate at assessment 1 but only 40% at assessment 3 (P <.001). While nonsurgical doctors had similar learning curves for knowledge and skills as surgical doctors (P =.53 and P =.56 respectively), their overall level was higher at all three assessments (all P <.05). Conclusion: These results show that junior doctors' prescribing knowledge and skills did not improve while they were working in clinical practice. Moreover, their level was under the predefined passing grade. As this might adversely affect patient safety, educational interventions should be introduced to improve the prescribing competence of junior doctors

    A highly virulent variant of HIV-1 circulating in the Netherlands

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    We discovered a highly virulent variant of subtype-B HIV-1 in the Netherlands. One hundred nine individuals with this variant had a 0.54 to 0.74 log10 increase (i.e., a ~3.5-fold to 5.5-fold increase) in viral load compared with, and exhibited CD4 cell decline twice as fast as, 6604 individuals with other subtype-B strains. Without treatment, advanced HIV-CD4 cell counts below 350 cells per cubic millimeter, with long-term clinical consequences-is expected to be reached, on average, 9 months after diagnosis for individuals in their thirties with this variant. Age, sex, suspected mode of transmission, and place of birth for the aforementioned 109 individuals were typical for HIV-positive people in the Netherlands, which suggests that the increased virulence is attributable to the viral strain. Genetic sequence analysis suggests that this variant arose in the 1990s from de novo mutation, not recombination, with increased transmissibility and an unfamiliar molecular mechanism of virulence
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