The novel β-coronavirus SARS-COV-2 since the end of 2019 has caused considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) has a wide spectrum of severity; the clinical presentation varies from asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic forms to a severe respiratory infection, frequently with fatal outcome. The inflammatory response, in particular the overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines and overactivation of immune cells (the so-called cytokine storm), determines the disease severity. At present, factors contributing to the development of this excessive inflammatory response are still under investigation, but it is known that some environmental pollutants are cause of chronic systemic and airway inflammation, finally leading to innate immune system hyperactivation, elevated production of proinflammatory cytokines, and thrombosis. In this review we discuss the influence of environmental and occupational pollutants on severity of SARS-COV-2 disease, taking account of the immune response induced by various pollutants.
Indoor air environments may affect humans in various ways such as their immune, neurological and psychological states. We have investigated and developed two methods to improve indoor air environments that result in enhancement of immune power and improvement of outcomes associated with pollen allergy that affects immune cells. One method involves the use of a negatively charged particle-dominant indoor air conditioner (NCPDIAC), while the other method involves use of a cloth containing a special natural ore powder (CCSNOP). We briefly explain these two devices and discuss their use in a world where viruses are widespread.
Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal fulfillment with loss of interest in work characterizes Burnout Syndrome (BS) in workers exposed to stress in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic is having a strong negative impact on the psycho-physical health of health workers thus favouring the appearance of BS. In addition, the fear of contagion and the close emotional relationship with seriously ill patients are the most important factors among those already known in the health environment in inducing and exacerbating the psychological effects of BS. Sleep disorders are deeply related with work overload due to prolonged work shifts, especially night ones. Moreover, the excessive workload in a condition of poor ergonomics, due to the use of personal protective equipment (PPEs), further increases the appearance of BS-associated health conditions such as the cardiovascular risk (CVR), metabolic syndrome and altered pain perception of musculoskeletal origin in particular. BS influences the hormone circadian rhythm with immune impact, mainly in reduction of NK cell activity. Psychological and social support for health workers should be carefully planned, otherwise the cost in terms of human resources, due to BS consequences, will be critical for the health system.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has demonstrated that dysregulated innate immunity mechanisms may cause acute respiratory distress in severe cases. Patients affected by asthma did not show increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, nor increased severity or mortality if infected. Occupational asthma (OA) has not been specifically studied in this respect. Due to the different pathomechanisms involved in OA, we postulate that subsets of patients with OA may be at higher risk for COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic now requires the deployment of fast, sensitive and inexpensive diagnostic methods to facilitate disease management and containment worldwide. The real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assay is currently the standard method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, lack of access to laboratory resources (including rRT-PCR instrumentation, reagents, or even trained laboratory technicians) limits rRT-PCR assays from being a field-deployable and rapid diagnostic tool, especially in resource-constrained pandemic zones. Given this limitation and the necessity of expediting the diagnostic procedures, there is a strong need to develop an accurate point-of-care (POC) testing platform for COVID-19 with quick turnaround times. A POC community-level quick test (used as an initial screening test before subsequent confirmation by rRT-PCR in a central laboratory) can significantly improve diagnostic utility and ultimately reduce the burden on medical resources. CRISPR-Cas technology has now surfaced as a promising diagnostic tool with rewarding prospects of rapid detection and low cost, thereby serving as a POC one-stop platform to detect COVID 19 infection and loads. Herein, we review various hitherto CRISPR–Cas-based methodologies for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA.
Risk perception refers to judgments people make about the likelihood of negative occurrences such as injury, illness, disease, and death. Risk perception is fundamental in health and risk communication. Risk perception in construction sites has always had a pivotal role in security management. The aim of this review is to analyze classic factors that influenced risk perception in building sites and the unavoidable changes that occurred in this new scenario in a pandemic era; biological risk now concerns every aspect of life, especially the workplace. Overfocus on Covid could cause a lack of attention towards general risks. The need of a multivariable (including Sars-CoV2) risk assessment led to a remodulation of tools and specific training for workers.
During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, several critical issues emerged regarding the new ways of interaction between customers and front desk employees, generating new stressors that should be considered to evaluate new methods of stress management. The relationship with the public represents a source of stress for front office employees. Customer-related social stressors can influence psychological well-being and can have different pathophysiological effects on the organism that, as a result, affect the job performance of the worker. Various coping strategies can mitigate or exacerbate the discomfort perceived by the employee, leading to a positive stress response (mitigation) or to a disadaptive one (exacerbation) reaching burnout syndrome at the very end. Numerous studies underline the need to improve customer service behavior, the necessity to create a client-centered behavior and highlight the role of supervisors in stress management and reduction.
The paper investigates its adequacy in relation to the hypothesis of liability for medical malpractice damage occurred during the health emergency by Covid-19, starting from the current regulatory framework on medical liability, recently reformed by Law no. 24 of 8 March 2017 (so-called Gelli-Bianco bill). In particular, the limits of recourse to a legal “shield” or alternative mechanisms of social solidarity are highlighted, proving rather desirable to adopt a hermeneutical approach that, in solving the specific case through the regulatory instruments already covered by the current legal system, is attentive to the balance between the effective protection of the Covid-19 victims and the general duty of sustainable and bilateral social support, which takes in due consideration the emergency setting where the healthcare staff and facilities had to operate.
The recent pandemic had an impact on the socio-occupational ecosystem, with great repercussion on the workers wellbeing. The personal protective equipment (PPE), designed to protect the worker, are now becoming a primary source of stress, in particular, of thermal stress, with consequently psychophysical discomfort and increase of error rate. The currently available PPE have not been designed for large-scale use and in the external environment. It would be necessary that the current situation serves as a launching pad for technical improvement of the available devices, like it already did in similar older contexts.