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2.
New Microbiol ; 46(1): 60-64, 2023 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2288297

ABSTRACT

In this study we evaluated the antiviral activity of the Silver Barrier® disinfectant against SARSCoV-2. Silver Barrier® showed time- and concentration-dependent antiviral activity against SARSCoV-2. After 5 min contact time, Silver Barrier® at 0.002% showed a strong inhibitory effect (p<0.001), with a 2-fold reduction of viral genome copy numbers, and a robust suppression (94%) of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Considering the effects obtained in solution and within a very short time, Silver Barrier® stands as an excellent new candidate for the disinfection of work environments, especially at the healthcare level, where there are people at high risk of serious illnesses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disinfectants , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Disinfectants/pharmacology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Silver/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology
4.
Viruses ; 15(2)2023 01 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2216963

ABSTRACT

Severe COVID-19 is characterized by angiogenic features, such as intussusceptive angiogenesis, endothelialitis, and activation of procoagulant pathways. This pathological state can be ascribed to a direct SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lung ECs. Recently, we showed the capability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect ACE2-negative primary human lung microvascular endothelial cells (HL-mECs). This occurred through the interaction of an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif, endowed on the Spike protein at position 403-405, with αvß3 integrin expressed on HL-mECs. HL-mEC infection promoted the remodeling of cells toward a pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic phenotype. The RGD motif is distinctive of SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins up to the Omicron BA.1 subvariant. Suddenly, a dominant D405N mutation was expressed on the Spike of the most recently emerged Omicron BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 subvariants. Here we demonstrate that the D405N mutation inhibits Omicron BA.5 infection of HL-mECs and their dysfunction because of the lack of Spike/integrins interaction. The key role of ECs in SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis has been definitively proven. Evidence of mutations retrieving the capability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect HL-mECs highlights a new scenario for patients infected with the newly emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants, suggesting that they may display less severe disease manifestations than those observed with previous variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Virus Diseases , Humans , Endothelial Cells , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Integrins , Mutation
5.
New Microbiol ; 45(4)2022 May 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2169095

ABSTRACT

Persistence of detectable viral RNA does not depend on the symptomatic status of the patients. Here we describe the case of a strongly immunocompromised patient living with a prolonged SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant infection without showing any symptoms. The importance of our findings is that the persistence of infection with an old SARS-CoV-2 strain, in an immunocompromised host, may allow recombination events generating new viral variants whose pathogenicity cannot be predicted. Our observation calls for the urgent need for continuous monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 genomic evolution in immunocompromised patients.

6.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(23)2022 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2143244

ABSTRACT

The BQ.1 SARS-CoV-2 variant, also known as Cerberus, is one of the most recent Omicron descendant lineages. Compared to its direct progenitor BA.5, BQ.1 has some additional spike mutations in some key antigenic sites, which confer further immune escape ability over other circulating lineages. In such a context, here, we perform a genome-based survey aimed at obtaining a complete-as-possible nuance of this rapidly evolving Omicron subvariant. Genetic data suggest that BQ.1 represents an evolutionary blind background, lacking the rapid diversification that is typical of a dangerous lineage. Indeed, the evolutionary rate of BQ.1 is very similar to that of BA.5 (7.6 × 10-4 and 7 × 10-4 subs/site/year, respectively), which has been circulating for several months. The Bayesian Skyline Plot reconstruction indicates a low level of genetic variability, suggesting that the peak was reached around 3 September 2022. Concerning the affinity for ACE2, structure analyses (also performed by comparing the properties of BQ.1 and BA.5 RBD) indicate that the impact of the BQ.1 mutations may be modest. Likewise, immunoinformatic analyses showed moderate differences between the BQ.1 and BA5 potential B-cell epitopes. In conclusion, genetic and structural analyses on SARS-CoV-2 BQ.1 suggest no evidence of a particularly dangerous or high expansion capability. Genome-based monitoring must continue uninterrupted for a better understanding of its descendants and all other lineages.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Biological Evolution
7.
EBioMedicine ; 86: 104328, 2022 Nov 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2095269
8.
Virus Evol ; 8(1): veac042, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915852

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) emerge for their capability to better adapt to the human host aimed and enhance human-to-human transmission. Mutations in spike largely contributed to adaptation. Viral persistence is a prerequisite for intra-host virus evolution, and this likely occurred in immunocompromised patients who allow intra-host long-term viral replication. The underlying mechanism leading to the emergence of variants during viral persistence in the immunocompromised host is still unknown. Here, we show the existence of an ensemble of minor mutants in the early biological samples obtained from an immunocompromised patient and their dynamic interplay with the master mutant during a persistent and productive long-term infection. In particular, after 222 days of active viral replication, the original master mutant, named MB610, was replaced by a minor quasispecies (MB61222) expressing two critical mutations in spike, namely Q493K and N501T. Isolation of the two viruses allowed us to show that MB61222 entry into target cells occurred mainly by the fusion at the plasma membrane (PM), whereas endocytosis characterized the entry mechanism used by MB610. Interestingly, coinfection of two human cell lines of different origin with the SARS-CoV-2 isolates highlighted the early and dramatic predominance of MB61222 over MB610 replication. This finding may be explained by a faster replicative activity of MB61222 as compared to MB610 as well as by the capability of MB61222 to induce peculiar viral RNA-sensing mechanisms leading to an increased production of interferons (IFNs) and, in particular, of IFN-induced transmembrane protein 1 (IFITM1) and IFITM2. Indeed, it has been recently shown that IFITM2 is able to restrict SARS-CoV-2 entry occurring by endocytosis. In this regard, MB61222 may escape the antiviral activity of IFITMs by using the PM fusion pathway for entry into the target cell, whereas MB610 cannot escape this host antiviral response during MB61222 coinfection, since it has endocytosis as the main pathway of entry. Altogether, our data support the evidence of quasispecies fighting for host dominance by taking benefit from the cell machinery to restrict the productive infection of competitors in the viral ensemble. This finding may explain, at least in part, the extraordinary rapid worldwide turnover of VOCs that use the PM fusion pathway to enter into target cells over the original pandemic strain.

9.
PLoS One ; 17(6): e0270024, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1910667

ABSTRACT

During the first wave of infections, neurological symptoms in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients raised particular concern, suggesting that, in a subset of patients, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) could invade and damage cells of the central nervous system (CNS). Indeed, up to date several in vitro and in vivo studies have shown the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to reach the CNS. Both viral and/or host related features could explain why this occurs only in certain individuals and not in all the infected population. The aim of the present study was to evaluate if onset of neurological manifestations in COVID-19 patients was related to specific viral genomic signatures. To this end, viral genome was extracted directly from nasopharyngeal swabs of selected SARS-CoV-2 positive patients presenting a spectrum of neurological symptoms related to COVID-19, ranging from anosmia/ageusia to more severe symptoms. By adopting a whole genome sequences approach, here we describe a panel of known as well as unknown mutations detected in the analyzed SARS-CoV-2 genomes. While some of the found mutations were already associated with an improved viral fitness, no common signatures were detected when comparing viral sequences belonging to specific groups of patients. In conclusion, our data support the notion that COVID-19 neurological manifestations are mainly linked to patient-specific features more than to virus genomic peculiarities.


Subject(s)
Ageusia , COVID-19 , Central Nervous System , Genomics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
10.
ACS Chem Biol ; 17(7): 1978-1988, 2022 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900425

ABSTRACT

The spread of COVID-19 has been exacerbated by the emergence of variants of concern (VoC). Many VoC contain mutations in the spike protein (S-protein) and are implicated in infection and response to therapeutics. Bivalent neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) targeting the S-protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) are promising therapeutics for COVID-19, but they are limited by low potency and vulnerability to RBD mutations in VoC. To address these issues, we used naïve phage-displayed peptide libraries to isolate and optimize 16-residue peptides that bind to the RBD or the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S-protein. We fused these peptides to the N-terminus of a moderate-affinity nAb to generate tetravalent peptide-IgG fusions, and we showed that both classes of peptides were able to improve affinities for the S-protein trimer by >100-fold (apparent KD < 1 pM). Critically, cell-based infection assays with a panel of six SARS-CoV-2 variants demonstrated that an RBD-binding peptide was able to enhance the neutralization potency of a high-affinity nAb >100-fold. Moreover, this peptide-IgG was able to neutralize variants that were resistant to the same nAb in the bivalent IgG format, including the dominant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant that is resistant to most clinically approved therapeutic nAbs. To show that this approach is general, we fused the same peptide to a clinically approved nAb drug and showed that it enabled the neutralization of a resistant variant. Taken together, these results establish minimal peptide fusions as a modular means to greatly enhance affinities, potencies, and breadth of coverage of nAbs as therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Bacteriophages , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Bacteriophages/genetics , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Neutralization Tests , Peptide Library , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Cell Death Dis ; 13(5): 498, 2022 May 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1864735

ABSTRACT

The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which so far has caused over 6 million deaths in 2 years, despite new vaccines and antiviral medications. Drug repurposing, an approach for the potential application of existing pharmaceutical products to new therapeutic indications, could be an effective strategy to obtain quick answers to medical emergencies. Following a virtual screening campaign on the most relevant viral proteins, we identified the drug raloxifene, a known Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM), as a new potential agent to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients. In this paper we report a comprehensive pharmacological characterization of raloxifene in relevant in vitro models of COVID-19, specifically in Vero E6 and Calu-3 cell lines infected with SARS-CoV-2. A large panel of the most common SARS-CoV-2 variants isolated in Europe, United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and India was tested to demonstrate the drug's ability in contrasting the viral cytopathic effect (CPE). Literature data support a beneficial effect by raloxifene against the viral infection due to its ability to interact with viral proteins and activate protective estrogen receptor-mediated mechanisms in the host cells. Mechanistic studies here reported confirm the significant affinity of raloxifene for the Spike protein, as predicted by in silico studies, and show that the drug treatment does not directly affect Spike/ACE2 interaction or viral internalization in infected cell lines. Interestingly, raloxifene can counteract Spike-mediated ADAM17 activation in human pulmonary cells, thus providing new insights on its mechanism of action. A clinical study in mild to moderate COVID-19 patients (NCT05172050) has been recently completed. Our contribution to evaluate raloxifene results on SARS-CoV-2 variants, and the interpretation of the mechanisms of action will be key elements to better understand the trial results, and to design new clinical studies aiming to evaluate the potential development of raloxifene in this indication.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , SARS-CoV-2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Humans , Pandemics , Raloxifene Hydrochloride/pharmacology , Raloxifene Hydrochloride/therapeutic use , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
12.
Cell Rep ; 39(9): 110905, 2022 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850802

ABSTRACT

Neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) that target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein have received emergency use approval for treatment of COVID-19. However, with the emergence of variants of concern, there is a need for new treatment options. We report a format that enables modular assembly of bi-paratopic tetravalent nAbs with antigen-binding sites from two distinct nAbs. The tetravalent nAb purifies in high yield and exhibits biophysical characteristics that are comparable to those of clinically used therapeutic antibodies. The tetravalent nAb binds to the spike protein trimer at least 100-fold more tightly than bivalent IgGs (apparent KD < 1 pM) and neutralizes a broad array of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses, chimeric viruses, and authentic viral variants with high potency. Together, these results establish the tetravalent diabody-Fc-Fab as a robust, modular platform for rapid production of drug-grade nAbs with potencies and breadth of coverage that greatly exceed those of conventional bivalent IgGs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
13.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1798881

ABSTRACT

Integrins represent a gateway of entry for many viruses and the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif is the smallest sequence necessary for proteins to bind integrins. All Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lineages own an RGD motif (aa 403-405) in their receptor binding domain (RBD). We recently showed that SARS-CoV-2 gains access into primary human lung microvascular endothelial cells (HL-mECs) lacking Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression through this conserved RGD motif. Following its entry, SARS-CoV-2 remodels cell phenotype and promotes angiogenesis in the absence of productive viral replication. Here, we highlight the αvß3 integrin as the main molecule responsible for SARS-CoV-2 infection of HL-mECs via a clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Indeed, pretreatment of virus with αvß3 integrin or pretreatment of cells with a monoclonal antibody against αvß3 integrin was found to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry into HL-mECs. Surprisingly, the anti-Spike antibodies evoked by vaccination were neither able to impair Spike/integrin interaction nor to prevent SARS-CoV-2 entry into HL-mECs. Our data highlight the RGD motif in the Spike protein as a functional constraint aimed to maintain the interaction of the viral envelope with integrins. At the same time, our evidences call for the need of intervention strategies aimed to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 integrin-mediated infection of ACE2-negative cells in the vaccine era.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/prevention & control , Endocytosis , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Humans , Integrin alphaV/metabolism , Integrin beta3/metabolism , Oligopeptides , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
J Med Virol ; 94(4): 1689-1692, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718387

ABSTRACT

The appearance of emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 carrying mutations into the spike protein has recently raised concern with respect to tracking their transmission and mitigating the impact in the evolving pandemic across countries. AY.4.2, a recently detected Delta variant sublineage, is considered a new variant under investigation (VUI) as it carries specific genetic signatures present in the spike protein, called Y145H and A222V. Here, using genomic epidemiology, we provide the first preliminary insight regarding the circulation of this emerging VUI in Italy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Child , Female , Genomics , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Mutation , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
16.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572669

ABSTRACT

Genotype screening was implemented in Italy and showed a significant prevalence of new SARS-CoV-2 mutants carrying Q675H mutation, near the furin cleavage site of spike protein. Currently, this mutation, which is expressed on different SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating worldwide, has not been thoughtfully investigated. Therefore, we performed phylogenetic and biocomputational analysis to better understand SARS-CoV-2 Q675H mutants' evolutionary relationships with other circulating lineages and Q675H function in its molecular context. Our studies reveal that Q675H spike mutation is the result of parallel evolution because it arose independently in separate evolutionary clades. In silico data show that the Q675H mutation gives rise to a hydrogen-bonds network in the spike polar region. This results in an optimized directionality of arginine residues involved in interaction of spike with the furin binding pocket, thus improving proteolytic exposure of the viral protein. Furin was predicted to have a greater affinity for Q675H than Q675 substrate conformations. As a consequence, Q675H mutation could confer a fitness advantage to SARS-CoV-2 by promoting a more efficient viral entry. Interestingly, here we have shown that Q675H spike mutation is documented in all the VOCs. This finding highlights that VOCs are still evolving to enhance viral fitness and to adapt to the human host. At the same time, it may suggest Q675H spike mutation involvement in SARS-CoV-2 evolution.


Subject(s)
Furin/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Binding Sites , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Hydrogen Bonding , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutation , Phylogeny , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
17.
ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 13(46): 54648-54655, 2021 Nov 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505998

ABSTRACT

The main route of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is through airborne small aerosol particles containing viable virus as well as through droplets transmitted between people within close proximity. Transmission via contaminated surfaces has also been recognized as an important route for the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Among a variety of antimicrobial agents currently in use, polymers represent a class of biocides that have become increasingly important as an alternative to existing biocidal approaches. Two transparent polymeric compounds, containing silver and benzalkonium ions electrostatically bound to a polystyrene sulfonate backbone, were synthesized, through simple procedures, and evaluated for their antimicrobial properties against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and Candida albicans (ISO EN 1276) and for their antiviral activity toward 229E and SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses (ISO UNI EN 14476:2019). The results showed that the two tested formulations are able to inhibit the growth of (1.5-5.5) × 1011 CFU of Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, and of the fungal species Candida albicans. Both compounds were able to control the 229E and SARS-CoV-2 infection of a target cell in a time contact of 5 min, with a virucidal effect from 24 to 72 h postinfection, according to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines, where a product is considered virucidal upon achieving a reduction of 4 logarithms. This study observed a decrease of more than 5 logarithms, which implies that these formulations are likely ideal candidates for the realization of transparent surface coatings that are capable of maintaining remarkable antibacterial activity and SARS-CoV-2 antiviral properties over time.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Polymers/therapeutic use , Animals , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Antifungal Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
18.
J Med Virol ; 94(1): 413-416, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404587

ABSTRACT

In December 2020, Italy experienced the first case of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) B.1.1.7 lineage. In January 2021, we identified 21 cases of this variant in Corzano, defining the first outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage in Italy. The high transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant represented an important benefit for the virus, which became rapidly dominant on the territory. Containment measures induced the epidemic curve onto a decreasing trajectory underlining the importance of appropriate control and surveillance for restraint of virus spread. Highlights The first Italian outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage occurred in Lombardy in January 2021. The outbreak originated by a single introduction of the B.1.1.7 lineage. The genomic sequencing revealed, for the first time, the presence of the V551F mutation in the B.1.1.7 lineage in Italy. Surveillance, prompt sequencing and tracing efforts were fundamental to identify and to quickly contain the outbreak.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/transmission , Child , Child, Preschool , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Phylogeny , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
19.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390787

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has created an unusual situation, with rapid searches for compounds to interfere with the biological processes exploited by the virus. Doxycycline, with its pleiotropic effects, including anti-viral activity, has been proposed as a therapeutic candidate for COVID-19 and about twenty clinical trials have started since the beginning of the pandemic. To gain information on the activity of doxycycline against SARS-CoV-2 infection and clarify some of the conflicting clinical data published, we designed in vitro binding tests and infection studies with a pseudotyped virus expressing the spike protein, as well as a clinically isolated SARS-CoV-2 strain. Doxycycline inhibited the transduction of the pseudotyped virus in Vero E6 and HEK-293 T cells stably expressing human receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 but did not affect the entry and replication of SARS-CoV-2. Although this conclusion is apparently disappointing, it is paradigmatic of an experimental approach aimed at developing an integrated multidisciplinary platform which can shed light on the mechanisms of action of potential anti-COVID-19 compounds. To avoid wasting precious time and resources, we believe very stringent experimental criteria are needed in the preclinical phase, including infectivity studies with clinically isolated SARS-CoV-2, before moving on to (futile) clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Physiological Phenomena/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Cycle , Chlorocebus aethiops , Doxycycline/pharmacology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Transduction, Genetic , Vero Cells
20.
Microorganisms ; 9(9)2021 Aug 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374466

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: Acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has led to a pandemic that began in March 2020. The role of the SARS-CoV-2 components on innate and adaptive immunity is still unknown. We investigated the possible implication of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs)-pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) interaction. (2) Methods: We infected Calu-3/MRC-5 multicellular spheroids (MTCSs) with a SARS-CoV-2 clinical strain and evaluated the activation of RNA sensors, transcription factors, and cytokines/interferons (IFN) secretion, by quantitative real-time PCR, immunofluorescence, and ELISA. (3) Results: Our results showed that the SARS-CoV-2 infection of Calu-3/MRC-5 multicellular spheroids induced the activation of the TLR3 and TLR7 RNA sensor pathways. In particular, TLR3 might act via IRF3, producing interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-1ß, IL-4, IL-6, and IFN-α and IFN-ß, during the first 24 h post-infection. Then, TLR3 activates the NFκB transduction pathway, leading to pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. Conversely, TLR7 seems to mainly act via NFκB, inducing type 1 IFN, IFN-γ, and IFN-λ3, starting from the 48 h post-infection. (4) Conclusion: We showed that both TLR3 and TLR7 are involved in the control of innate immunity during lung SARS-CoV-2 infection. The activation of TLRs induced pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1α, IL-1ß, IL-4, and IL-6, as well as interferons. TLRs could be a potential target in controlling the infection in the early stages of the disease.

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