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Fulminant H1N1 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infections with a 4-year interval without an identifiable underlying cause: a case report

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BACKGROUND: The clinical presentation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection is highly variable from asymptomatic infection to fulminant disease. The reasons for the variation are only starting to unravel, with risk factors including age and certain comorbidities as well as genetic defects causing immunological perturbations in the interferon pathways.

CASE PRESENTATION: We report the case of an otherwise healthy Caucasian man, who at ages 60 and 64 years suffered from severe H1N1 influenza virus infection and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infections, respectively. In both cases, there were acute kidney impairment and the need for intensive care unit admission as well as mechanical ventilation. Fortunately, after both infections there was full clinical recovery. The severity of the infections indicates an underlying impairment in the ability to control these kinds of infections. Challenge of patient peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed impaired type I and III antiviral interferon responses and reduced interferon-stimulated gene expression. However, despite investigation of patient samples by whole exome sequencing and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, no known disease-causing genetic variants related to interferon pathways were found, nor were interferon autoantibodies demonstrated. Thus, any underlying immunological cause of this unusual susceptibility to severe viral infections remains unresolved.

CONCLUSION: The patient experienced very similar severe clinical pictures triggered by H1N1 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infections, indicating an underlying inability to contain these infections. We were unable to show that the patient had any of the currently known types of immune incompetence but identified genetic changes possibly contributing to the severe course of both infections. Further analyses to delineate contribution factors are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number505
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Volume15
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)505
ISSN1752-1947
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • COVID-19, Humans, Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Male, Middle Aged, SARS Virus, SARS-CoV-2

ID: 72156871