Around five percent of all Covid-19 patients develop a severe to critical illness; in addition, 50 percent of deceased patients with severe Covid-19 exhibit a secondary bacterial infection. Antibiotics clearly play an influential role in the success of treatment. In his talk on “Metagenomics in Covid-19 and co-infection”, Prof. André Gessner of the University Hospital Regensburg explains the results of current studies that examined the role microbiomes play in the development of Covid-19.
A Covid-19 diagnosis is usually based on the detection of viral nucleic acid sequences. Even though the characteristics of the host reaction are not measured, they still play a decisive role in determining the result. While metabolic profiles are well suited to determine the host’s condition, most metabolomic studies are either: too weak; only measure a limited subset of metabolites; compare infected persons with control cohorts that are not infected and not suitable as the cohort demographics differ from each other too greatly; or do not provide a compact prognostic model. Two further morning sessions supplement one another, namely the talks held by Prof. Dr Jianguo Xia, McGill University in Montreal, and Dr Ivayla Roberts, University of Liverpool. Both focus on a powerful metabolomics screening method used on Covid-19 patients, which enables a prognosis on the severity of the infection and the further progression of the disease.
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The keynote held by Dr Vautz, ION-GAS, Dortmund, focuses on metabolic processes, which include many volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These volatile metabolites are released in our airways when we breath and can therefore easily be collected for analysis. Prof. Dr Steven L. Zeichner, University of Virginia, United States, presents the latest findings on hyper-inflammatory processes in children; a small number of these young patients suffer from Covid-19. In the afternoon, Dr Sebastian Ulbert, Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI, Leipzig, takes a closer look at monitoring protective humoral immune responses. This production of antibodies is essential when assessing the risk of new infections.
Day 2: Cardiology and oncology
The second day of the event, November 16 (10:30 am), is chaired by Prof. Dr med. Stefan Holdenrieder of the German Heart Centre Munich and is dedicated to cardiology and oncology. Prof. Dr Simon, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, and Prof. Dr Billy Sperlich, University of Würzburg, talk about cardiac performance diagnostics in athletes and Covid-19, a highly topical theme with regard to the pandemic and with a view to the progression of long Covid. The keynotes of Prof. Dr Wolfgang König, German Heart Centre Munich, and Prof. Dr Ralph Burkhardt, University Hospital Regensburg, focus on new biomarkers in the risk stratification and diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.