• The Potential of Lung Epithelium Specific Proteins as Biomarkers for COVID-19-Associated Lung Injury

      Almuntashiri, Sultan; James, Chelsea; Wang, Xiaoyun; Siddiqui, Budder; Zhang, Duo; Division of Infectious Diseases; Vascular Biology Center (MDPI, 2021-09-08)
      Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was first reported in Wuhan, China, and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 20 March 2020. The respiratory system is the major organ system affected by COVID-19. Numerous studies have found lung abnormalities in patients with COVID-19, including shortness of breath, respiratory failure, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The identification of lung-specific biomarkers that are easily measurable in serum would be valuable for both clinicians and patients with such conditions. This review is focused on the pneumoproteins and their potential to serve as biomarkers for COVID-19-associated lung injury, including Krebs von den Lungen-6 (KL-6), surfactant proteins (SP-A, SP-B, SP-C, SP-D), and Clara cell secretory protein (CC16). The current findings indicate the aforementioned pneumoproteins may reflect the severity of pulmonary manifestations and could serve as potential biomarkers in COVID-19-related lung injury.
    • SalivaSTAT: Direct-PCR and Pooling of Saliva Samples Collected in Healthcare and Community Setting for SARS-CoV-2 Mass Surveillance

      Sahajpal, Nikhil S.; Mondal, Ashis K.; Ananth, Sudha; Njau, Allan; Ahluwalia, Pankaj; Newnam, Gary; Lozoya-Colinas, Adriana; Hud, Nicholas V.; Kota, Vamsi; Ross, Ted M.; et al. (MDPI, 2021-05-19)
      Objectives: Limitations of widespread current COVID-19 diagnostic testing exist in both the pre-analytical and analytical stages. To alleviate these limitations, we developed a universal saliva processing protocol (SalivaSTAT) that would enable an extraction-free RT-PCR test using commercially available RT-PCR kits. Methods: We optimized saliva collection devices, heat-shock treatment, and homogenization. Saliva samples (879) previously tested using the FDA-EUA method were reevaluated with the optimized SalivaSTAT protocol using two widely available commercial RT-PCR kits. A five-sample pooling strategy was evaluated as per FDA guidelines. Results: Saliva collection (done without any media) showed performance comparable to that of the FDA-EUA method. The SalivaSTAT protocol was optimized by incubating saliva samples at 95 ◦C for 30-min and homogenization, followed by RT-PCR assay. The clinical sample evaluation of 630 saliva samples using the SalivaSTAT protocol with PerkinElmer (600-samples) and CDC (30-samples) RT-PCR assay achieved positive (PPA) and negative percent agreements (NPAs) of 95.0% and 100%, respectively. The LoD was established as ~60–180 copies/mL by absolute quantification. Furthermore, a five-samplepooling evaluation using 250 saliva samples achieved a PPA and NPA of 92% and 100%, respectively. Conclusion: We have optimized an extraction-free RT-PCR assay for saliva samples that demonstrates comparable performance to FDA-EUA assay (Extraction and RT-PCR).
    • Tryptophan-Kynurenine Pathway in COVID-19-Dependent Musculoskeletal Pathology: A Minireview

      Vyavahare, Sagar; Kumar, Sandeep; Cantu, Nicholas; Kolhe, Ravindra; Bollag, Wendy B.; McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E.; Hill, William D.; Hamrick, Mark W.; Isales, Carlos M.; Fulzele, Sadanand; et al. (Hindawi, 2021-10-05)
      Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), affecting multiple organ systems, including the respiratory tract and lungs. Several studies have reported that the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway is altered in COVID-19 patients. The tryptophan-kynurenine pathway plays a vital role in regulating inflammation, metabolism, immune responses, and musculoskeletal system biology. In this minireview, we surmise the effects of the kynurenine pathway in COVID-19 patients and how this pathway might impact muscle and bone biology.
    • Understanding the cycles of COVID-19 incidence: Principal Component Analysis and interaction of biological and socio-economic factors

      Duarte, Pablo; Riveros-Perez, Efrain; Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (Elsevier, 2021-06-01)
      The incidence curve of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) shows cyclical patterns over time. We examine the cyclical properties of the incidence curves in various countries and use principal components analysis to shed light on the underlying dynamics that are common to all countries. We find that the cyclical series of 37 countries can be summarized in four principal components which explain over 90% of the variation. We also discuss the influence of complex interactions between biological viral natural history and socio-political reactions and measures adopted by different countries on the cyclical patterns exhibited by COVID-19 around the globe.