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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(6): e1329-e1336, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411883

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare personnel (HCP) are at increased risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We posit that current infection control guidelines generally protect HCP from SARS-CoV-2 infection in a healthcare setting. METHODS: In this retrospective case series, we used viral genomics to investigate the likely source of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCP at a major academic medical institution in the Upper Midwest of the United States between 25 March and 27 December 2020. We obtained limited epidemiological data through informal interviews and review of the electronic health record and combined this information with healthcare-associated viral sequences and viral sequences collected in the broader community to infer the most likely source of infection in HCP. RESULTS: We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection clusters involving 95 HCP and 137 possible patient contact sequences. The majority of HCP infections could not be linked to a patient or coworker (55 of 95 [57.9%]) and were genetically similar to viruses circulating concurrently in the community. We found that 10.5% of HCP infections (10 of 95) could be traced to a coworker. Strikingly, only 4.2% (4 of 95) could be traced to a patient source. CONCLUSIONS: Infections among HCP add further strain to the healthcare system and put patients, HCP, and communities at risk. We found no evidence for healthcare-associated transmission in the majority of HCP infections evaluated. Although we cannot rule out the possibility of cryptic healthcare-associated transmission, it appears that HCP most commonly become infected with SARS-CoV-2 via community exposure. This emphasizes the ongoing importance of mask wearing, physical distancing, robust testing programs, and rapid distribution of vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Delivery of Health Care , Health Personnel , Humans , Retrospective Studies , United States/epidemiology
2.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(8): e1009849, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369568

ABSTRACT

The emergence of divergent SARS-CoV-2 lineages has raised concern that novel variants eliciting immune escape or the ability to displace circulating lineages could emerge within individual hosts. Though growing evidence suggests that novel variants arise during prolonged infections, most infections are acute. Understanding how efficiently variants emerge and transmit among acutely-infected hosts is therefore critical for predicting the pace of long-term SARS-CoV-2 evolution. To characterize how within-host diversity is generated and propagated, we combine extensive laboratory and bioinformatic controls with metrics of within- and between-host diversity to 133 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from acutely-infected individuals. We find that within-host diversity is low and transmission bottlenecks are narrow, with very few viruses founding most infections. Within-host variants are rarely transmitted, even among individuals within the same household, and are rarely detected along phylogenetically linked infections in the broader community. These findings suggest that most variation generated within-host is lost during transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Genetic Variation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Acute Disease , COVID-19/transmission , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Time Factors
3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(27)2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276013

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a key role in viral infectivity. It is also the major antigen stimulating the host's protective immune response, specifically, the production of neutralizing antibodies. Recently, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 possessing multiple mutations in the S protein, designated P.1, emerged in Brazil. Here, we characterized a P.1 variant isolated in Japan by using Syrian hamsters, a well-established small animal model for the study of SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19). In hamsters, the variant showed replicative abilities and pathogenicity similar to those of early and contemporary strains (i.e., SARS-CoV-2 bearing aspartic acid [D] or glycine [G] at position 614 of the S protein). Sera and/or plasma from convalescent patients and BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccinees showed comparable neutralization titers across the P.1 variant, S-614D, and S-614G strains. In contrast, the S-614D and S-614G strains were less well recognized than the P.1 variant by serum from a P.1-infected patient. Prior infection with S-614D or S-614G strains efficiently prevented the replication of the P.1 variant in the lower respiratory tract of hamsters upon reinfection. In addition, passive transfer of neutralizing antibodies to hamsters infected with the P.1 variant or the S-614G strain led to reduced virus replication in the lower respiratory tract. However, the effect was less pronounced against the P.1 variant than the S-614G strain. These findings suggest that the P.1 variant may be somewhat antigenically different from the early and contemporary strains of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/pathology , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Lung/pathology , Mesocricetus , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , X-Ray Microtomography
4.
PLoS Biol ; 19(6): e3001265, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278162

ABSTRACT

The search for potential antibody-based diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics for pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has focused almost exclusively on the spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. Coronavirus membrane (M), ORF3a, and ORF8 proteins are humoral immunogens in other coronaviruses (CoVs) but remain largely uninvestigated for SARS-CoV-2. Here, we use ultradense peptide microarray mapping to show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces robust antibody responses to epitopes throughout the SARS-CoV-2 proteome, particularly in M, in which 1 epitope achieved excellent diagnostic accuracy. We map 79 B cell epitopes throughout the SARS-CoV-2 proteome and demonstrate that antibodies that develop in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection bind homologous peptide sequences in the 6 other known human CoVs. We also confirm reactivity against 4 of our top-ranking epitopes by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Illness severity correlated with increased reactivity to 9 SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in S, M, N, and ORF3a in our population. Our results demonstrate previously unknown, highly reactive B cell epitopes throughout the full proteome of SARS-CoV-2 and other CoV proteins.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus/immunology , Cross Reactions , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Proteome/immunology , Severity of Illness Index
5.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(2): e1009373, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1105836

ABSTRACT

The evolutionary mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 viruses adapt to mammalian hosts and, potentially, undergo antigenic evolution depend on the ways genetic variation is generated and selected within and between individual hosts. Using domestic cats as a model, we show that SARS-CoV-2 consensus sequences remain largely unchanged over time within hosts, while dynamic sub-consensus diversity reveals processes of genetic drift and weak purifying selection. We further identify a notable variant at amino acid position 655 in Spike (H655Y), which was previously shown to confer escape from human monoclonal antibodies. This variant arises rapidly and persists at intermediate frequencies in index cats. It also becomes fixed following transmission in two of three pairs. These dynamics suggest this site may be under positive selection in this system and illustrate how a variant can quickly arise and become fixed in parallel across multiple transmission pairs. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in cats involved a narrow bottleneck, with new infections founded by fewer than ten viruses. In RNA virus evolution, stochastic processes like narrow transmission bottlenecks and genetic drift typically act to constrain the overall pace of adaptive evolution. Our data suggest that here, positive selection in index cats followed by a narrow transmission bottleneck may have instead accelerated the fixation of S H655Y, a potentially beneficial SARS-CoV-2 variant. Overall, our study suggests species- and context-specific adaptations are likely to continue to emerge. This underscores the importance of continued genomic surveillance for new SARS-CoV-2 variants as well as heightened scrutiny for signatures of SARS-CoV-2 positive selection in humans and mammalian model systems.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adaptation, Biological , Animals , Biological Evolution , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cats , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Variation , Humans , Phylogeny , Selection, Genetic
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