A Tale of Two Institutions: COVID-19 Positive Rates in Asymptomatic Patients Pre-Screened for Spine Procedures and Surgeries in Los Angeles, California
STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:Retrospective cohort study. OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:The coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by the severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has created an unprecedented global public health emergency. The aim of the current study was to report on COVID-19 rates in an asymptomatic population prior to undergoing spine procedures or surgeries at two large Los Angeles healthcare systems. METHODS:Elective spine procedures and surgeries from May 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021 were included. Results from SARS-CoV-2 virus RT-PCR nasopharyngeal testing within 72 hours prior to elective spine procedures were recorded. Los Angeles County COVID-19 rates were calculated using data sets from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Chi-squared test and Stata/IC were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS:A total of 4,062 spine procedures and surgeries were scheduled during this time period. Of these, 4,043 procedures and surgeries were performed, with a total of 19 patients testing positive. Nine positive patients were from UCLA, and 10 from USC. The overall rate of positive tests was low at .47% and reflected similarities with Los Angeles County COVID-19 rates over time. CONCLUSIONS:The current study shows that pre-procedure COVID-19 testing rates remains very low, and follows similar patterns of community rates. While pre-procedure testing increases the safety of elective procedures, universal COVID-19 pre-screening adds an additional barrier to receiving care for patients and increases cost of delivering care. A combination of pre-screening, pre-procedure self-quarantine, and consideration of overall community COVID-19 positivity rates should be further studied.
Immunochip analysis identifies multiple susceptibility loci for systemic sclerosis
In this study, 1,833 systemic sclerosis (SSc) cases and 3,466 controls were genotyped with the Immunochip array. Classical alleles, amino acid residues, and SNPs across the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region were imputed and tested. These analyses resulted in a model composed of six polymorphic amino acid positions and seven SNPs that explained the observed significant associations in the region. In addition, a replication step comprising 4,017 SSc cases and 5,935 controls was carried out for several selected non-HLA variants, reaching a total of 5,850 cases and 9,401 controls of European ancestry. Following this strategy, we identified and validated three SSc risk loci, including DNASE1L3 at 3p14, the SCHIP1-IL12A locus at 3q25, and ATG5 at 6q21, as well as a suggested association of the TREH-DDX6 locus at 11q23. The associations of several previously reported SSc risk loci were validated and further refined, and the observed peak of association in PXK was related to DNASE1L3. Our study has increased the number of known genetic associations with SSc, provided further insight into the pleiotropic effects of shared autoimmune risk factors, and highlighted the power of dense mapping for detecting previously overlooked susceptibility loci.