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Mild Clinical Course of COVID-19 in 3 Patients Receiving Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies Targeting C5 Complement for Hematologic Disorders

David J. Araten, H. Michael Belmont, Julia Schaefer-Cutillo, Arjun Iyengar, Aprajita Mattoo, Ramachandra Reddy

(Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, NYU Langone Health, New York City, NY, USA)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e927418

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.927418


BACKGROUND: Patients receiving immunosuppressive therapies might be more susceptible to COVID-19. Conversely, an exaggerated inflammatory response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection might be blunted by certain forms of immunosuppression, which could be protective. Indeed, there are data from animal models demonstrating that complement may be a part of the pathophysiology of coronavirus infections. There is also evidence from an autopsy series demonstrating complement deposition in the lungs of patients with COVID-19. This raises the question of whether patients on anti-complement therapy could be protected from COVID-19.
CASE REPORT: Case 1 is a 39-year-old woman with an approximately 20-year history of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), who had recently been switched from treatment with eculizumab to ravulizumab prior to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Case 2 is a 54-year-old woman with a cadaveric renal transplant for lupus nephritis, complicated by thrombotic microangiopathy, who was maintained on eculizumab, which she started several months before she developed the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Case 3 is a 60-year-old woman with a 14-year history of PNH, who had been treated with eculizumab since 2012, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the time of her scheduled infusion. All 3 patients had a relatively mild course of COVID-19.
CONCLUSIONS: We see no evidence of increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in these patients on anti-complement therapy, which might actually have accounted for the mild course of infection. The effect of anti-complement therapy on COVID-19 disease needs to be determined in clinical trials.

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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