Our laboratory has been fortunate to work with a number of ICU docs from the outset of the pandemic and have a growing repository of samples from COVID-19 patients we have paired with clinical data and a 41-panel inflammatory cytokine array. While we have not been able to analyze tracheal aspirates yet, we hope to do so soon. I can confirm the samples are extremely viscous, are filled with NETs, and likely do contain HA.
Our first round of analysis of ~30 patients confirmed high levels of HA, HA-HC, and hyaluronidase activity in plasma from COVID-19 patients. HA is elevated in the plasma of hospitalized, non-ICU COVID-19 when compared with healthy age and co-morbidity matched controls (eg hypertension, diabetes), and is much higher in ICU-admitted COVID-19 patients. Sizing the plasma HA is still a work in progress. We have taken these plasma samples into in vitro assay systems in lung epithelial and microvascular endothelial cells and expect this work to be under review soon.
We also have evidence of disruption of other GAGs and proteoglycan core proteins as well and are happy to collaborate going forward.