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Unexpected liaisons between old cytokines and new deadly virus

Viewpoint
Beretta A
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20315

Researchers in Italy have not only identified new unexpected liaisons between old cytokines and the new coronavirus that open the way to the use in COVID-19 of drugs already approved for other diseases, but they have also provided valuable indications on how to better prepare ourselves to face a possible second wave of infection.

Swiss newborn screening for severe T and B cell deficiency with a combined TREC/KREC assay – management recommendations

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Trück J, Prader S, Natalucci G, Hagmann C, Brotschi B, Kelly J, Bassler D, Steindl K, Rauch A, Baumgartner M, Fingerhut R, Hauri-Hohl M, Güngör T, Pachlopnik Schmid J, Berger C, Reichenbach J
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20254

The recent introduction of newborn screening for severe primary T and B cell deficiencies in Switzerland allows rapid identification of patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). The authors outline the screening procedure currently performed in Switzerland and give recommendations for diagnostic evaluations and precautionary measures against infection in children with abnormal screening test results.

Immunoglobulins or convalescent plasma to tackle COVID-19: buying time to save lives – current situation and perspectives

Viewpoint
Tamburello A, Marando M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20264

During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic different treatments are being explored and tested, in the absence of official management protocols. Some show initial promise, many have been tried out without sound biological bases. Plasma and H-IVIG of recovered patients are a tried and tested approach that could prove helpful in the short term.

The cellular prion protein beyond prion diseases

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Manni G, Lewis V, Senesi M, Spagnolli G, Fallarino F, Collins SJ, Mouillet-Richard S, Biasini E
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20222

The cellular prion protein (PrPC), a cell surface glycoprotein originally identified for its central role in prion diseases, has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This article provides an overview of what is known about the role of PrPC beyond prion disorders and discusses the potential implications of targeting this protein in different diseases.

Is antibody-dependent enhancement playing a role in COVID-19 pathogenesis?

Viewpoint
Negro F
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20249

The pathogenesis of COVID-19 is currently believed to proceed via both directly cytotoxic and immune-mediated mechanisms. An additional mechanism facilitating viral cell entry and subsequent damage may involve the so-called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE).

HLA studies in the context of coronavirus outbreaks

Viewpoint
Sanchez-Mazas A
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20248

Little is known at the moment about specific immune mechanisms that would work against SARS-CoV-2, although such knowledge is expected to play a vital role. In this context, a particular focus has to be given to the human leucocyte antigen system that governs our adaptive immunity.

A review of HLA allele and SNP associations with highly prevalent infectious diseases in human populations

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Sanchez-Mazas A
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20214

This article reviews the associations that have been best documented between markers at classical HLA genes and six of the most prevalent infectious diseases, and discusses this in a population genetics and evolutionary perspective.

Immunosuppressant therapeutic drug monitoring and trough level stabilisation after paediatric liver or kidney transplantation

Original article
Posfay-Barbe KM, Baudet H, McLin VA, Parvex P, Chehade H, Combescure C, Bonnabry P, Fonzo-Christe C
Swiss Med Wkly. 2019;149:w20156

Immunosuppressive therapy must be guided by therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) in paediatric liver (LT) and kidney transplantation (KT) patients to prevent under- and overdosing, which have clinical consequences.

A simple guide to the interpretation of the significance of the association of a disease with a particular HLA allele

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Winchester R
Swiss Med Wkly. 2019;149:w20128

The impressive survival advantage of the adaptive immune system comes at the cost of autoimmunity and autoimmune disease because of the self-selected character of the adaptive immune system’s T cell repertoires.

Behçet’s syndrome: clinical presentation and prevalence in Switzerland

Original article
Villiger RA, Stefanski AL, Grobéty V, Adler S, Villiger PM
Swiss Med Wkly. 2019;149:w20072

Behçet’s syndrome is a rare systemic autoimmune/autoinflammatory disease. In Switzerland there are no published data regarding the prevalence of Behçet’s syndrome, its manifestations or its management.

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