Higher plasma levels of Chemokine CCL19 are associated with poor SARS-CoV-2 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) outcomes
Balnis, Joseph et al.
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COVID19 pandemic has so far caused over three hundred thousand deaths worldwide, primarily due to complications from SARS-CoV-2-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). While an ARDS-driven hyperinflammatory phenotype is associated with higher mortality in non-COVID patients, there is little information on how cytokines and chemokines expressions correlate with clinical outcomes in COVID19 patients. We prospectively enrolled a cohort of 41 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome on mechanical ventilation. Patients blood was obtained at enrollment and outcome measures were liberation from mechanical ventilation and hospital-free days. We determined the expression levels of 44 circulating cytokines/chemokines and found 13 of them associated with worse outcomes. After correcting for multiple comparisons/false discovery rate, only one chemokine (CCL19) remained significantly associated with outcomes (p=0.009). Although not described in association with COVID19, this chemokine was previously found elevated in an animal model of SARS-CoV. Moreover, CCL19 seems to be relevant for bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) maintenance and for lung immunity to influenza virus. While this finding requires corroboration, CCL19 determination could facilitate early identification COVID19-ARDS patients at higher risk of death and be novel target for immunotherapy in this setting.