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1.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294047

ABSTRACT

Background We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of two recombinant COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidates in first-in-human trials. GX-19 contains plasmid DNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and GX-19N contains plasmid DNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) foldon and nucleocapsid protein (NP) as well as plasmid DNA encoding SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Methods Two open-label phase 1 trials of GX-19 and GX-19N safety and immunogenicity were performed in healthy adults aged 19–55 years. GX-19 trial participants received two vaccine injections (1·5 mg or 3·0 mg, 1:1 ratio) four weeks apart. GX-19N trial participants received two 3·0 mg vaccine injections four weeks apart. Findings Between June 17 and July 30 and December 28 and 31, 2020, 40 and 21 participants were enrolled in the GX-19 and GX-19N trials, respectively. Thirty-two participants (52·5%) reported 80 treatment-emergent adverse events (AE) after vaccination. All solicited AEs were mild except one case of moderate fatigue reported in the 1·5 mg GX-19 group. Binding antibody responses increased after vaccination in all groups. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) of spike-binding antibodies on day 57 were 85·74, 144·20, and 201·59 in the 1·5 mg, 3·0 mg GX-19 groups and the 3·0 mg GX-19N group, respectively. In GX-19N group, neutralizing antibody response (50% neutralizing titer using FRNT) significantly increased after vaccination, but GMT of neutralizing antibody on day 57 (37.26) was lower than those from human convalescent serum (288.78). GX-19N induced stronger T cell responses than GX-19. The magnitude of GX-19N-induced T cell responses was comparable to those observed in the convalescent PBMCs. GX-19N induced both SARS-CoV-2 spike- and NP-specific T cell responses, and the amino acid sequences of 15-mer peptides containing NP-specific T cell epitopes identified in GX-19N-vaccinated participants were identical with those of diverse SARS-CoV-2 variants Interpretation GX-19N is safe, tolerated and induces humoral and broad SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response which may enable cross-reactivity to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Funding This research was supported by Korea Drug Development Fund funded by Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and Ministry of Health and Welfare (HQ20C0016, Republic of Korea). Research in context Evidence before this study To overcome the COVID-19 outbreak, the development of safe and effective vaccines is crucial. Despite the successful clinical efficacy of the approved vaccines, concerns exist regarding emerging new SARS-CoV-2 variants that have mutated receptor binding domains in the spike protein. We searched PubMed for research articles published up to May 1, 2021, using various combinations of the terms “COVID-19” or “SARS-CoV-2”, “vaccine”, and “clinical trial”. No language or data restrictions were applied. We also searched the ClinicalTrials.gov registry and World Health Organization (WHO) draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines for ongoing trials of COVID-19 vaccines up to May 1, 2021. Ten DNA-based vaccines, including the vaccine candidate reported here, are in ongoing clinical trials. Among these, safety and immunogenicity results were reported from only one phase 1 trial of a DNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (INO-4800). INO-4800 demonstrated favorable safety and tolerability and was immunogenic, eliciting humoral and/or cellular immune responses in all vaccinated subjects. There is only one ongoing clinical trial of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 variants (mRNA-1273.351). Added value of this study This is the first-in-human phase 1 trial in healthy adults of a recombinant DNA vaccine for COVID-19 (GX-19N) containing the coding regions of both the spike and nucleocapsid proteins. This trial showed that GX-19N is safe, tolerated, and able to induce both humoral and cellular responses. A two-dose vaccination of 3·0 mg GX-19N (on days 1 and 29) induced significant humoral a d cellular responses. The neutralizing geometric mean titers in individuals vaccinated with GX-19N were lower than those of human convalescent sera. However, the GX-19N group showed increased T cell responses, which was similar to those analyzed using convalescent PBMCs. Furthermore, GX-19N induced not only SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific T cell responses but also broad nucleocapsid-specific T cell responses, which were also specific to SARS-CoV-2 variants. Implications of all the available evidence It is important to note that GX-19N contains a plasmid encoding both the spike and nucleocapsid proteins, and that it showed broad SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses, which may allow cross-reactivity with emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Based on these safety and immunogenicity findings, GX-19N was selected for phase 2 immunogenicity trials.

2.
J Clin Med ; 10(18)2021 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430906

ABSTRACT

Acute respiratory distress syndrome is the primary cause of death in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia. Our study aims to determine the association between serum markers and mortality in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. This retrospective study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital in South Korea. Forty-nine patients with COVID-19, who required high flow nasal cannulation or mechanical ventilation from February 2020 to April 2021, were included. Demographic and laboratory data were analyzed at baseline and on Day 7 of admission. We found that serum creatinine, troponin, procalcitonin, and soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R) at baseline were more elevated in the non-survivor group, but were not associated with mechanical ventilator use on Day 7. Older age, PaO2/FiO2 ratio, lymphocyte and platelet counts, lactate dehydrogenase, IL-6, C-reactive protein, and sIL-2R on Day 7 were significantly associated with mortality. Delta sIL-2R (Day 7-Day 0) per standard deviation was significantly higher in the non-survivor group (adjusted hazard ratio 3.225, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.151-9.037, p = 0.026). Therefore, sIL-2R could predict mortality in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. Its sustained elevation suggests a hyper-inflammatory state, and mirrors the severity of COVID-19 in patients with respiratory failure, thereby warranting further attention.

4.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 506, 2021 May 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249547

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome, and corticosteroids have been considered as possible therapeutic agents for this disease. However, there is limited literature on the appropriate timing of corticosteroid administration to obtain the best possible patient outcomes. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study including patients with severe COVID-19 who received corticosteroid treatment from March 2 to June 30, 2020 in seven tertiary hospitals in South Korea. We analyzed the patient demographics, characteristics, and clinical outcomes according to the timing of steroid use. Twenty-two patients with severe COVID-19 were enrolled, and they were all treated with corticosteroids. RESULTS: Of the 22 patients who received corticosteroids, 12 patients (55%) were treated within 10 days from diagnosis. There was no significant difference in the baseline characteristics. The initial PaO2/FiO2 ratio was 168.75. The overall case fatality rate was 25%. The mean time from diagnosis to steroid use was 4.08 days and the treatment duration was 14 days in the early use group, while those in the late use group were 12.80 days and 18.50 days, respectively. The PaO2/FiO2 ratio, C-reactive protein level, and cycle threshold value improved over time in both groups. In the early use group, the time from onset of symptoms to discharge (32.4 days vs. 60.0 days, P = 0.030), time from diagnosis to discharge (27.8 days vs. 57.4 days, P = 0.024), and hospital stay (26.0 days vs. 53.9 days, P = 0.033) were shortened. CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with severe COVID-19, early use of corticosteroids showed favorable clinical outcomes which were related to a reduction in the length of hospital stay.


Subject(s)
Adrenal Cortex Hormones/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Republic of Korea , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , Retrospective Studies
6.
Journal of Korean Medical Science ; 35(14):1-8, 2020.
Article in English | Korean Science Index | ID: covidwho-1106854

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 not yet has established its treatment, but convalescent plasma has been expected to increase survival rates as in the case with other emerging viral infections.We describe two cases of COVID-19 treated with convalescent plasma infusion. Both patients presented severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome and showed a favorable outcome after the use of convalescent plasma in addition to systemic corticosteroid. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the use of convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 in Korea.

7.
Immunity ; 54(1): 44-52.e3, 2021 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065202

ABSTRACT

Memory T cell responses have been demonstrated in COVID-19 convalescents, but ex vivo phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells have been unclear. We detected SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells by MHC class I multimer staining and examined their phenotypes and functions in acute and convalescent COVID-19. Multimer+ cells exhibited early differentiated effector-memory phenotypes in the early convalescent phase. The frequency of stem-like memory cells was increased among multimer+ cells in the late convalescent phase. Cytokine secretion assays combined with MHC class I multimer staining revealed that the proportion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-producing cells was significantly lower among SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells than those specific to influenza A virus. Importantly, the proportion of IFN-γ-producing cells was higher in PD-1+ cells than PD-1- cells among multimer+ cells, indicating that PD-1-expressing, SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells are not exhausted, but functional. Our current findings provide information for understanding of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells elicited by infection or vaccination.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Convalescence , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Lymphocyte Activation , Viral Load
8.
Microbiol Resour Announc ; 10(1)2021 Jan 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1015608

ABSTRACT

We report the genome sequences of two GH clade severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) strains isolated from nasopharyngeal swabs from patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea. These strains had two mutations in the untranslated regions and seven nonsynonymous substitutions in open reading frames, compared with Wuhan/Hu-1/2019, showing 99.96% sequence identity.

9.
Immunity ; 54(1): 44-52.e3, 2021 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-988082

ABSTRACT

Memory T cell responses have been demonstrated in COVID-19 convalescents, but ex vivo phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells have been unclear. We detected SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells by MHC class I multimer staining and examined their phenotypes and functions in acute and convalescent COVID-19. Multimer+ cells exhibited early differentiated effector-memory phenotypes in the early convalescent phase. The frequency of stem-like memory cells was increased among multimer+ cells in the late convalescent phase. Cytokine secretion assays combined with MHC class I multimer staining revealed that the proportion of interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-producing cells was significantly lower among SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells than those specific to influenza A virus. Importantly, the proportion of IFN-γ-producing cells was higher in PD-1+ cells than PD-1- cells among multimer+ cells, indicating that PD-1-expressing, SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells are not exhausted, but functional. Our current findings provide information for understanding of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells elicited by infection or vaccination.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/immunology , Acute-Phase Reaction/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Convalescence , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte , Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Immunophenotyping , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Lymphocyte Activation , Viral Load
10.
PLoS One ; 15(11): e0242130, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-940737

ABSTRACT

Comparing to data in patients with severe coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19), there are few studies on the prevalence anxiety and/or depression in patients with asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19. We investigated the clinical characteristics and the prevalence of anxiety and/or depression among asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients with COVID-19 and monitored their mental health using an online assessment. An online survey for monitoring and assessing the mental health of patients with COVID-19 using a mobile phone was conducted. We used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale to measure anxiety and/or depression levels. Of the 234 patients, 66 patients were asymptomatic (28.2%), while the remaining 168 patients were mildly symptomatic. The prevalence of anosmia (p = 0.001) and ageusia (p = 0.008) significantly decreased with the increasing age. In addition, 19.8% and 14.0% patients had anxiety and/or depression in the first survey, and one week after the first survey, respectively. Compared to patients without anxiety and/or depression, those with anxiety and/or depression had a longer quarantine duration. We found that anomia and ageusia were relatively common in the young age group. Furthermore, one-fifth asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients with COVID-19 had anxiety and/or depression.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Mental Health , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Humans , Internet-Based Intervention , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Quarantine/psychology , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
11.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0241169, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-892386

ABSTRACT

Novel coronavirus (named SARS-CoV-2) can spread widely in confined settings including hospitals, cruise ships, prisons, and places of worship. In particular, a healthcare-associated outbreak could become the epicenter of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This study aimed to evaluate the effects of different intervention strategies on the hospital outbreak within a tertiary hospital. A mathematical model was developed for the COVID-19 transmission within a 2500-bed tertiary hospital of South Korea. The SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered) model with a compartment of doctor, nurse, patient, and caregiver was constructed. The effects of different intervention strategies such as front door screening, quarantine unit for newly admitted patients, early testing of suspected infected people, and personal protective equipment for both medical staff and visitors were evaluated. The model suggested that the early testing (within eight hours) of infected cases and monitoring the quarantine ward for newly hospitalized patients are effective measures for decreasing the incidence of COVID-19 within a hospital (81.3% and 70% decrease of number of incident cases, respectively, during 60 days). Front door screening for detecting suspected cases had only 42% effectiveness. Screening for prohibiting the admission of COVID-19 patients was more effective than the measures for patients before emergency room or outpatient clinic. This model suggests that under the assumed conditions, some effective measures have a great influence on the incidence of COVID-19 within a hospital. The implementation of the preventive measures could reduce the size of a hospital outbreak.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Cross Infection/transmission , Infection Control/methods , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Tertiary Care Centers , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Caregivers , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Early Diagnosis , Emergency Service, Hospital , Hospital Departments , Humans , Incidence , Mass Screening , Medical Staff, Hospital , Nursing Staff, Hospital , Outpatient Clinics, Hospital , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patients , Patients' Rooms , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Symptom Assessment , Visitors to Patients
12.
J Clin Med ; 9(9)2020 Sep 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-769362

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a major global public health issue. SARS-CoV-2 infection is confirmed by the detection of viral RNA using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Prolonged viral shedding has been reported in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, but the presence of viral RNA does not always correlate with infectivity. Therefore, the present study aimed to confirm the presence of viable virus in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients in the later phase of the disease, more than two weeks after diagnosis. METHOD: Asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients who had been diagnosed with the disease at least two weeks previously and admitted to a community treatment center (CTC) from 15 March to 10 April 2020 were enrolled in this study. Nasopharyngeal and salivary swab specimens were collected from each patient. Using these specimens, RT-PCR assay and viral culture were performed. RESULT: In total, 48 patients were enrolled in this study. There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patient groups. RT-PCR assay and viral culture of SARS-CoV-2 were performed using nasopharyngeal and salivary swabs. The results of RT-PCR performed using salivary swab specimens, in terms of cycle threshold (Ct) values, were similar to those of RT-PCR using nasopharyngeal swab specimens. In addition, no viable virus could be cultured from swab specimens collected from the late-phase COVID-19 patients with prolonged viral RNA shedding. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our study suggests that even if viral shedding is sustained in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients with later phase of COVID-19, it can be expected that the transmission risk of the virus is low. In addition, saliva can be used as a reliable specimen for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

13.
Int J Infect Dis ; 99: 279-285, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-739076

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to elucidate patterns of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) clearance in the natural course of asymptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: Consecutive patients with non-severe COVID-19 were included retrospectively. Asymptomatic patients with a normal body temperature and no evidence of pneumonia throughout the disease course were assigned to the asymptomatic group. The reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) assay was repeated every two to five days after the first follow-up RT-PCR assay. Negative conversion was defined as two consecutive negative RT-PCR assay results within a 24-h interval. Rebound of the cycle threshold (Ct) value was defined as negative from the single RT-PCR assay and positive from the following assay. RESULTS: Among a total of 396 patients identified (median age 42.5 years (interquartile range (IQR) 25.0-55.0 years), 35.6% male), 68 (17.2%) were assigned to the asymptomatic group and 328 (82.8%) to the symptomatic group. The time until negative conversion was significantly shorter in the asymptomatic group than in the symptomatic group: median 14.5 days (IQR 11.0-21.0 days) and 18.0 days (IQR 15.0-22.0 days), respectively (p = 0.001). Rebound of Ct values was observed in 78 patients (19.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Time until negative conversion is shorter in asymptomatic COVID-19 than in symptomatic COVID-19. Rebound of Ct values is not uncommon.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Asymptomatic Diseases , COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
14.
Sci Immunol ; 5(49)2020 07 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-639363

ABSTRACT

Although most SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals experience mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), some patients suffer from severe COVID-19, which is accompanied by acute respiratory distress syndrome and systemic inflammation. To identify factors driving severe progression of COVID-19, we performed single-cell RNA-seq using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from healthy donors, patients with mild or severe COVID-19, and patients with severe influenza. Patients with COVID-19 exhibited hyper-inflammatory signatures across all types of cells among PBMCs, particularly up-regulation of the TNF/IL-1ß-driven inflammatory response as compared to severe influenza. In classical monocytes from patients with severe COVID-19, type I IFN response co-existed with the TNF/IL-1ß-driven inflammation, and this was not seen in patients with milder COVID-19. Interestingly, we documented type I IFN-driven inflammatory features in patients with severe influenza as well. Based on this, we propose that the type I IFN response plays a pivotal role in exacerbating inflammation in severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Immunophenotyping , Influenza A virus/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Severity of Illness Index , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Inflammation/immunology , Influenza, Human/blood , Influenza, Human/virology , Interleukin-1beta/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Cell Analysis , Transcriptome , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism
15.
J Korean Med Sci ; 35(14): e149, 2020 Apr 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-47979

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 not yet has established its treatment, but convalescent plasma has been expected to increase survival rates as in the case with other emerging viral infections. We describe two cases of COVID-19 treated with convalescent plasma infusion. Both patients presented severe pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome and showed a favorable outcome after the use of convalescent plasma in addition to systemic corticosteroid. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the use of convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 in Korea.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Aged , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Pandemics , Republic of Korea , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/therapy , SARS-CoV-2
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