2021 was a powerhouse year for medical research! Many of the authors paving the way with their publications came from our very own Mount Sinai Health System. Here are the top 10 articles, sorted by captures, as reported in Plum Analytics:
#1 - Immunological memory to SARS-CoV-2 assessed for up to 8 months after infection
"Understanding immune memory to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical for improving diagnostics and vaccines and for assessing the likely future course of the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed multiple compartments of circulating immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 in 254 samples from 188 COVID-19 cases, including 43 samples at ≥6 months after infection. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) to the spike protein was relatively stable over 6+ months. Spike-specific memory B cells were more abundant at 6 months than at 1 month after symptom onset. SARS-CoV-2- specific CD4T cells and CD8T cells declined with a half-life of 3 to 5 months. By studying antibody, memory B cell, CD4T cell, and CD8T cell memory to SARS-CoV-2 in an integrated manner, we observed that each component of SARS-CoV-2 immune memory exhibited distinct kinetics."
#2 - Evolution of antibody immunity to SARS-CoV-2
"Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected 78 million individuals and is responsible for over 1.7 million deaths to date. Infection is associated with the development of variable levels of antibodies with neutralizing activity, which can protect against infection in animal models. Antibody levels decrease with time, but, to our knowledge, the nature and quality of the memory B cells that would be required to produce antibodies upon reinfection has not been examined. Here we report on the humoral memory response in a cohort of 87 individuals assessed at 1.3 and 6.2 months after infection with SARS-CoV-2. We find that titres of IgM and IgG antibodies against the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 decrease significantly over this time period, with IgA being less affected. Concurrently, neutralizing activity in plasma decreases by fivefold in pseudotype virus assays. By contrast, the number of RBD-specific memory B cells remains unchanged at 6.2 months after infection. Memory B cells display clonal turnover after 6.2 months, and the antibodies that they express have greater somatic hypermutation, resistance to RBD mutations and increased potency, indicative of continued evolution of the humoral response. Immunofluorescence and PCR analyses of intestinal biopsies obtained from asymptomatic individuals at 4 months after the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) revealed the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids and immunoreactivity in the small bowel of 7 out of 14 individuals. We conclude that the memory B cell response to SARS-CoV-2 evolves between 1.3 and 6.2 months after infection in a manner that is consistent with antigen persistence."
#3 - Tocilizumab in patients hospitalized with Covid-19 pneumonia
"Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pneumonia is often associated with hyperinflammation. Despite the disproportionate incidence of Covid-19 among underserved and racial and ethnic minority populations, the safety and efficacy of the anti-interleukin- 6 receptor antibody tocilizumab in patients from these populations who are hospitalized with Covid-19 pneumonia are unclear. In hospitalized patients with Covid-19 pneumonia who were not receiving mechanical ventilation, tocilizumab reduced the likelihood of progression to the composite outcome of mechanical ventilation or death, but it did not improve survival. No new safety signals were identified."
#4 - Causes of blindness and vision impairment in 2020 and trends over 30 years, and prevalence of avoidable blindness in relation to VISION 2020: the Right to Sight: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study
"Many causes of vision impairment can be prevented or treated. With an ageing global population, the demands for eye health services are increasing. We estimated the prevalence and relative contribution of avoidable causes of blindness and vision impairment globally from 1990 to 2020. We aimed to compare the results with the World Health Assembly Global Action Plan (WHA GAP) target of a 25% global reduction from 2010 to 2019 in avoidable vision impairment, defined as cataract and undercorrected refractive error. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based surveys of eye disease from January, 1980, to October, 2018."
#5 - Tocilizumab in hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia
"Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is associated with immune dysregulation and hyperinflammation, including elevated interleukin-6 levels. The use of tocilizumab, a monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor, has resulted in better outcomes in patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia in case reports and retrospective observational cohort studies. Data are needed from randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Of the 452 patients who underwent randomization, 438 (294 in the tocilizumab group and 144 in the placebo group) were included in the primary and secondary analyses. The median value for clinical status on the ordinal scale at day 28 was 1.0 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 1.0) in the tocilizumab group and 2.0 (non-ICU hospitalization without supplemental oxygen) (95% CI, 1.0 to 4.0) in the placebo group (between-group difference, −1.0; 95% CI, −2.5 to 0; P=0.31 by the van Elteren test). In the safety population, serious adverse events occurred in 103 of 295 patients (34.9%) in the tocilizumab group and in 55 of 143 patients (38.5%) in the placebo group. Mortality at day 28 was 19.7% in the tocilizumab group and 19.4% in the placebo group (weighted difference, 0.3 percentage points; 95% CI, -7.6 to 8.2; nominal P=0.94)."
#6 - Functional SARS-CoV-2-Specific Immune Memory Persists after Mild COVID-19
"The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is causing a global pandemic, and cases continue to rise. Most infected individuals experience mildly symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but it is unknown whether this can induce persistent immune memory that could contribute to immunity. We performed a longitudinal assessment of individuals recovered from mild COVID-19 to determine whether they develop and sustain multifaceted SARS-CoV-2-specific immunological memory. Recovered individuals developed SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies, neutralizing plasma, and memory B and memory T cells that persisted for at least 3 months. Our data further reveal that SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG memory B cells increased over time. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2-specific memory lymphocytes exhibited characteristics associated with potent antiviral function: memory T cells secreted cytokines and expanded upon antigen re-encounter, whereas memory B cells expressed receptors capable of neutralizing virus when expressed as monoclonal antibodies. Therefore, mild COVID-19 elicits memory lymphocytes that persist and display functional hallmarks of antiviral immunity."
#7 - Identification of Required Host Factors for SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Human Cells
"To better understand host-virus genetic dependencies and find potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19, we performed a genome-scale CRISPR loss-of-function screen to identify host factors required for SARS-CoV-2 viral infection of human alveolar epithelial cells. Top-ranked genes cluster into distinct pathways, including the vacuolar ATPase proton pump, Retromer, and Commander complexes. We validate these gene targets using several orthogonal methods such as CRISPR knockout, RNA interference knockdown, and small-molecule inhibitors. Using single-cell RNA-sequencing, we identify shared transcriptional changes in cholesterol biosynthesis upon loss of top-ranked genes. In addition, given the key role of the ACE2 receptor in the early stages of viral entry, we show that loss of RAB7A reduces viral entry by sequestering the ACE2 receptor inside cells. Overall, this work provides a genome-scale, quantitative resource of the impact of the loss of each host gene on fitness/response to viral infection."
#8 - Association between Early Treatment with Tocilizumab and Mortality among Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19
"Therapies that improve survival in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are needed. Tocilizumab, a monoclonal antibody against the interleukin 6 receptor, may counteract the inflammatory cytokine release syndrome in patients with severe COVID-19 illness. The data for this study were derived from a multicenter cohort study of 4485 adults with COVID-19 admitted to participating intensive care units (ICUs) at 68 hospitals across the US from March 4 to May 10, 2020. Critically ill adults with COVID-19 were categorized according to whether they received or did not receive tocilizumab in the first 2 days of admission to the ICU. Data were collected retrospectively until June 12, 2020. Among critically ill patients with COVID-19 in this cohort study, the risk of in-hospital mortality in this study was lower in patients treated with tocilizumab in the first 2 days of ICU admission compared with patients whose treatment did not include early use of tocilizumab. However, the findings may be susceptible to unmeasured confounding, and further research from randomized clinical trials is needed."
#9 - Sequencing of 53,831 diverse genomes from the NHLBI TOPMed Program
"The Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme seeks to elucidate the genetic architecture and biology of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders, with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases. The initial phases of the programme focused on whole-genome sequencing of individuals with rich phenotypic data and diverse backgrounds. Here we describe the TOPMed goals and design as well as the available resources and early insights obtained from the sequence data. The resources include a variant browser, a genotype imputation server, and genomic and phenotypic data that are available through dbGaP (Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes). In the first 53,831 TOPMed samples, we detected more than 400 million single-nucleotide and insertion or deletion variants after alignment with the reference genome. Additional previously undescribed variants were detected through assembly of unmapped reads and customized analysis in highly variable loci. Among the more than 400 million detected variants, 97% have frequencies of less than 1% and 46% are singletons that are present in only one individual (53% among unrelated individuals). These rare variants provide insights into mutational processes and recent human evolutionary history. The extensive catalogue of genetic variation in TOPMed studies provides unique opportunities for exploring the contributions of rare and noncoding sequence variants to phenotypic variation. Furthermore, combining TOPMed haplotypes with modern imputation methods improves the power and reach of genome-wide association studies to include variants down to a frequency of approximately 0.01%."
#10 - Worldwide trends in hypertension prevalence and progress in treatment and control from 1990 to 2019: a pooled analysis of 1201 population-representative studies with 104 million participants
"Hypertension can be detected at the primary health-care level and low-cost treatments can effectively control hypertension. We aimed to measure the prevalence of hypertension and progress in its detection, treatment, and control from 1990 to 2019 for 200 countries and territories. We used data from 1990 to 2019 on people aged 30–79 years from population-representative studies with measurement of blood pressure and data on blood pressure treatment. We defined hypertension as having systolic blood pressure 140 mm Hg or greater, diastolic blood pressure 90 mm Hg or greater, or taking medication for hypertension..."
Here's to the progress that our MSHS researchers make in 2022!