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1.
Cells ; 11(1)2021 12 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580994

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), needs better treatment options both at antiviral and anti-inflammatory levels. It has been demonstrated that the aminothiol cysteamine, an already human applied drug, and its disulfide product of oxidation, cystamine, have anti-infective properties targeting viruses, bacteria, and parasites. To determine whether these compounds exert antiviral effects against SARS-CoV-2, we used different in vitro viral infected cell-based assays. Moreover, since cysteamine has also immune-modulatory activity, we investigated its ability to modulate SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response in vitro in blood samples from COVID-19 patients. We found that cysteamine and cystamine decreased SARS-CoV-2-induced cytopathic effects (CPE) in Vero E6 cells. Interestingly, the antiviral action was independent of the treatment time respect to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Moreover, cysteamine and cystamine significantly decreased viral production in Vero E6 and Calu-3 cells. Finally, cysteamine and cystamine have an anti-inflammatory effect, as they significantly decrease the SARS-CoV-2 specific IFN-γ production in vitro in blood samples from COVID-19 patients. Overall, our findings suggest that cysteamine and cystamine exert direct antiviral actions against SARS-CoV-2 and have in vitro immunomodulatory effects, thus providing a rational to test these compounds as a novel therapy for COVID-19.

2.
Front Mol Biosci ; 8: 752616, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572298

ABSTRACT

Although lung fibrosis has a major impact in COVID-19 disease, its pathogenesis is incompletely understood. In particular, no direct evidence of pleura implication in COVID-19-related fibrotic damage has been reported so far. In this study, the expression of epithelial cytokeratins and Wilms tumor 1 (WT1), specific markers of mesothelial cells (MCs), was analyzed in COVID-19 and unrelated pleura autoptic samples. SARS-CoV-2 replication was analyzed by RT-PCR and confocal microscopy in MeT5A, a pleura MC line. SARS-CoV-2 receptors were analyzed by RT-PCR and western blot. Inflammatory cytokines from the supernatants of SARS-CoV-2-infected MeT5A cells were analysed by Luminex and ELLA assays. Immunohistochemistry of COVID-19 pleura patients highlighted disruption of pleura monolayer and fibrosis of the sub-mesothelial stroma, with the presence of MCs with fibroblastoid morphology in the sub-mesothelial stroma, but no evidence of direct infection in vivo. Interestingly, we found evidence of ACE2 expression in MCs from pleura of COVID-19 patients. In vitro analysis shown that MeT5A cells expressed ACE2, TMPRSS2, ADAM17 and NRP1, plasma membrane receptors implicated in SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and infectivity. Moreover, MeT5A cells sustained SARS-CoV-2 replication and productive infection. Infected MeT5A cells produced interferons, inflammatory cytokines and metalloproteases. Overall, our data highlight the potential role of pleura MCs as promoters of the fibrotic reaction and regulators of the immune response upon SARS-CoV-2 infection.

3.
J Transl Med ; 19(1): 501, 2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1560461

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Omics data, driven by rapid advances in laboratory techniques, have been generated very quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim is to use omics data to highlight the involvement of specific pathways, as well as that of cell types and organs, in the pathophysiology of COVID-19, and to highlight their links with clinical phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: The analysis was based on the domain model, where for domain it is intended a conceptual repository, useful to summarize multiple biological pathways involved at different levels. The relevant domains considered in the analysis were: virus, pathways and phenotypes. An interdisciplinary expert working group was defined for each domain, to carry out an independent literature scoping review. RESULTS: The analysis revealed that dysregulated pathways of innate immune responses, (i.e., complement activation, inflammatory responses, neutrophil activation and degranulation, platelet degranulation) can affect COVID-19 progression and outcomes. These results are consistent with several clinical studies. CONCLUSIONS: Multi-omics approach may help to further investigate unknown aspects of the disease. However, the disease mechanisms are too complex to be explained by a single molecular signature and it is necessary to consider an integrated approach to identify hallmarks of severity.

4.
Neurology ; 2021 Nov 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528702

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the immune-specific response after the full SARS-CoV-2 vaccination of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients treated with different Disease Modifying drugs by the detection of both serological- and T-cell responses. METHODS: Health care workers (HCWs) and MS patients, having completed the two-dose schedule of an mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the last 2-4 weeks, were enrolled from two parallel prospective studies conducted in Rome, Italy, at the National Institute for Infectious diseases Spallanzani-IRCSS and San Camillo Forlanini Hospital. Serological response was evaluated by quantifying the Region-Binding-Domain (RBD) and neutralizing-antibodies. Cell-mediated response was analyzed by a whole-blood test quantifying interferon (IFN)-γ response to spike peptides. Cells responding to spike stimulation were identified by FACS analysis. RESULTS: We prospectively enrolled 186 vaccinated individuals: 78 HCWs and 108 MS patients. Twenty-eight MS patients were treated with IFN-ß, 35 with fingolimod, 20 with cladribine, and 25 with ocrelizumab. A lower anti-RBD-antibody response rate was found in patients treated with ocrelizumab (40%, p<0.0001) and fingolimod (85.7%, p=0.0023) compared to HCWs and patients treated with cladribine or IFN-ß. Anti-RBD-antibody median titer was lower in patients treated with ocrelizumab (p<0.0001), fingolimod (p<0.0001) and cladribine (p=0.010) compared to HCWs and IFN-ß-treated patients. Importantly, serum neutralizing activity was present in all the HCWs tested and only in a minority of the fingolimod-treated patients (16.6%). T-cell-specific response was detected in the majority of MS patients (62%), albeit with significantly lower IFN-γ levels compared to HCWs. The lowest frequency of T-cell response was found in fingolimod-treated patients (14.3%). T-cell-specific response correlated with lymphocyte count and anti-RBD antibody titer (rho=0.554, p<0.0001 and rho=0.255, p=0.0078 respectively). Finally, IFN-γ T-cell response was mediated by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. CONCLUSION: mRNA vaccines induce both humoral and cell-mediated specific immune responses against spike peptides in all HCWs and in the majority of MS patients. These results carry relevant implications for managing vaccinations suggesting to promote vaccination in all treated MS patients. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class III data that COVID mRNA vaccination induces both humoral and cell-mediated specific immune responses against viral spike proteins in a majority of MS patients.

5.
Biol Sex Differ ; 12(1): 63, 2021 11 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528694

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Several biomarkers have been identified to predict the outcome of COVID-19 severity, but few data are available regarding sex differences in their predictive role. Aim of this study was to identify sex-specific biomarkers of severity and progression of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19. METHODS: Plasma levels of sex hormones (testosterone and 17ß-estradiol), sex-hormone dependent circulating molecules (ACE2 and Angiotensin1-7) and other known biomarkers for COVID-19 severity were measured in male and female COVID-19 patients at admission to hospital. The association of plasma biomarker levels with ARDS severity at admission and with the occurrence of respiratory deterioration during hospitalization was analysed in aggregated and sex disaggregated form. RESULTS: Our data show that some biomarkers could be predictive both for males and female patients and others only for one sex. Angiotensin1-7 plasma levels and neutrophil count predicted the outcome of ARDS only in females, whereas testosterone plasma levels and lymphocytes counts only in males. CONCLUSIONS: Sex is a biological variable affecting the choice of the correct biomarker that might predict worsening of COVID-19 to severe respiratory failure. The definition of sex specific biomarkers can be useful to alert patients to be safely discharged versus those who need respiratory monitoring.

6.
Mol Ther ; 2021 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450246

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has made the development of safe and effective vaccines a critical priority. To date, four vaccines have been approved by European and American authorities for preventing COVID-19, but the development of additional vaccine platforms with improved supply and logistics profiles remains a pressing need. Here we report the preclinical evaluation of a novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on the electroporation of engineered, synthetic cDNA encoding a viral antigen in the skeletal muscle. We constructed a set of prototype DNA vaccines expressing various forms of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and assessed their immunogenicity in animal models. Among them, COVID-eVax-a DNA plasmid encoding a secreted monomeric form of SARS-CoV-2 S protein receptor-binding domain (RBD)-induced the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody responses (including against the current most common variants of concern) and a robust T cell response. Upon challenge with SARS-CoV-2, immunized K18-hACE2 transgenic mice showed reduced weight loss, improved pulmonary function, and lower viral replication in the lungs and brain. COVID-eVax conferred significant protection to ferrets upon SARS-CoV-2 challenge. In summary, this study identifies COVID-eVax as an ideal COVID-19 vaccine candidate suitable for clinical development. Accordingly, a combined phase I-II trial has recently started.

7.
Front Immunol ; 12: 740249, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448730

ABSTRACT

Objective: To assess in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, treated with different immunosuppressive therapies, the induction of SARS-CoV-2-specific immune response after vaccination in terms of anti-region-binding-domain (RBD)-antibody- and T-cell-specific responses against spike, and the vaccine safety in terms of clinical impact on disease activity. Methods: Health care workers (HCWs) and RA patients, having completed the BNT162b2-mRNA vaccination in the last 2 weeks, were enrolled. Serological response was evaluated by quantifying anti-RBD antibodies, while the cell-mediated response was evaluated by a whole-blood test quantifying the interferon (IFN)-γ-response to spike peptides. FACS analysis was performed to identify the cells responding to spike stimulation. RA disease activity was evaluated by clinical examination through the DAS28crp, and local and/or systemic clinical adverse events were registered. In RA patients, the ongoing therapeutic regimen was modified during the vaccination period according to the American College of Rheumatology indications. Results: We prospectively enrolled 167 HCWs and 35 RA patients. Anti-RBD-antibodies were detected in almost all patients (34/35, 97%), although the titer was significantly reduced in patients under CTLA-4-inhibitors (median: 465 BAU/mL, IQR: 103-1189, p<0.001) or IL-6-inhibitors (median: 492 BAU/mL, IQR: 161-1007, p<0.001) compared to HCWs (median: 2351 BAU/mL, IQR: 1389-3748). T-cell-specific response scored positive in most of RA patients [24/35, (69%)] with significantly lower IFN-γ levels in patients under biological therapy such as IL-6-inhibitors (median: 33.2 pg/mL, IQR: 6.1-73.9, p<0.001), CTLA-4-inhibitors (median: 10.9 pg/mL, IQR: 3.7-36.7, p<0.001), and TNF-α-inhibitors (median: 89.6 pg/mL, IQR: 17.8-224, p=0.002) compared to HCWs (median: 343 pg/mL, IQR: 188-756). A significant correlation between the anti-RBD-antibody titer and spike-IFN-γ-specific T-cell response was found in RA patients (rho=0.432, p=0.009). IFN-γ T-cell response was mediated by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Finally, no significant increase in disease activity was found in RA patients following vaccination. Conclusion: This study showed for the first time that antibody-specific and whole-blood spike-specific T-cell responses induced by the COVID-19 mRNA-vaccine were present in the majority of RA patients, who underwent a strategy of temporary suspension of immunosuppressive treatment during vaccine administration. However, the magnitude of specific responses was dependent on the immunosuppressive therapy administered. In RA patients, BNT162b2 vaccine was safe and disease activity remained stable.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Immunotherapy/adverse effects , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Aged , Arthritis, Rheumatoid/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Interferon-gamma/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/cytology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology
8.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113: 113-115, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440100

ABSTRACT

Diagnostic methods based on SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection are a promising alternative to SARS-CoV-2 RNA amplification. We evaluated the automated chemiluminescence-based Lumipulse® G SARS-CoV-2 Ag assay as compared to real time assays (combined results from RT-PCR Allplex™ SARS-CoV-2 assay and Easy SARS-CoV-2 WE kit) on 513 nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS). Among these, 53.6% resulted positive to RT-PCR, considered as the reference test. Compared to the reference test, overall sensitivity and specificity of Lumipulse® G SARS-CoV-2 Ag assay were 84.0%, and 89.1%, respectively, and overall agreement between the antigen and molecular assays was substantial (κ = 0.727). When stratifying samples into groups based on ranges of RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct), the antigen test sensitivity was >95% for samples with Ct <30. Linear regression analysis showed strong and highly significant correlation between the Lumipulse Ag concentrations and the RT-PCR Ct values (RdRp gene), irrespective of whether the Ct values from molecular test were combined in a unique regression analysis or analysed separately. Overall, chemiluminescence-based antigen assay may be reliably applied to NPS samples to identify individuals with high viral loads, more likely to transmit the virus.

9.
Clin Chem Lab Med ; 59(12): 2010-2018, 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398962

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Simple and standardized methods to establish correlates to vaccine-elicited SARS-CoV-2 protection are needed. METHODS: An observational study on antibody response to a mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty) was performed on health care workers (V, n=120). Recovered COVID-19 patients (N, n=94) were used for comparison. Antibody response was evaluated by a quantitative anti-receptor binding domain IgG (anti-RBD) commercial assay and by virus microneutralization test (MNT), in order to establish a threshold of anti-RBD binding antibody units (BAU) able to predict a robust (≥1:80) MNT titer. RESULTS: Significant correlation between BAU and MNT titers was found in both V and N, being stronger in V (rs=0.91 and 0.57 respectively, p<0.001); a higher incremental trend starting from MNT titer 1:80 was observed in the V group. The 99% probability of high MNT titer (≥1:80) was reached at 1,814 and 3,564 BAU/mL, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.99 (CI: 0.99-1.00) and 0.78 (CI: 0.67-0.86) in V and N, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: A threshold of 2,000 BAU/mL is highly predictive of strong MNT response in vaccinated individuals and may represent a good surrogate marker of protective response. It remains to be established whether the present results can be extended to BAU titers obtained with other assays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Humoral , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Area Under Curve , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Logistic Models , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , ROC Curve , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , Young Adult
10.
Euro Surveill ; 25(13)2020 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389098

ABSTRACT

Whole genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 obtained from two patients, a Chinese tourist visiting Rome and an Italian, were compared with sequences from Europe and elsewhere. In a phylogenetic tree, the Italian patient's sequence clustered with sequences from Germany while the tourist's sequence clustered with other European sequences. Some additional European sequences in the tree segregated outside the two clusters containing the patients' sequences. This suggests multiple SARS-CoV-2 introductions in Europe or virus evolution during circulation.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Travel , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , China , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Germany , Humans , Italy , Molecular Epidemiology , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Point Mutation , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology
11.
Infect Dis Rep ; 13(3): 597-601, 2021 Jun 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335035

ABSTRACT

We report a case of myopericarditis associated to SARS-CoV-2 infection with necrotizing coronary vasculitis of intramural vessels, giving rise to biventricular apical microaneurysms and to electrical instability. Negativity of myocardial polymerase chain reaction for the most common cardiotropic viruses and for SARS-CoV-2 suggested an immune-mediated myocardial and pericardial inflammatory disease. High dose (1 mg/Kg daily) prednisone and anti-viral (Remdesivir, IDA Business, Carrigtohill, County Cork, T45 DP77, Ireland) therapy led to resolution of cardiac inflammation and ventricular arrhythmias. Morpho-molecular characterization of endomyocardial tissue may improve the outcome in subjects with SARS-CoV-2-associated myopericarditis and coronary vasculitis.

12.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305819

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal (NPS)/oropharyngeal swabs is the gold standard for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral load monitoring. Oral fluid (OF) is an alternate clinical sample, easy and safer to collect and could be useful for COVID-19 diagnosis, monitoring viral load and shedding. METHODS: Optimal assay conditions and analytical sensitivity were established for the commercial Simplexa™ COVID-19 Direct assay adapted to OF matrix. The assay was used to test 337 OF and NPS specimens collected in parallel from 164 hospitalized patients; 50 bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens from a subgroup of severe COVID-19 cases were also analysed. RESULTS: Using Simplexa™ COVID-19 Direct on OF matrix, 100% analytical detection down to 1 TCID50/mL (corresponding to 4 × 103 copies (cp)/mL) was observed. No crossreaction with other viruses transmitted through the respiratory toute was observed. Parallel testing of 337 OF and NPS samples showed highly concordant results (κ = 0.831; 95 % CI = 0.771-0.891), and high correlation of Ct values (r = 0.921; p < 0.0001). High concordance and elevated correlation was observed also between OF and BAL. Prolonged viral RNA shedding was observed up to 100 days from symptoms onset (DSO), with 32% and 29% positivity observed in OF and NPS samples, respectively, collected between 60 and 100 DSO. CONCLUSIONS: Simplexa™ COVID-19 Direct assays on OF have high sensitivity and specificity to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA and provide an alternative to NPS for diagnosis and monitoring SARS-CoV-2 shedding.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Virus Shedding/physiology , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Body Fluids/virology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Pandemics , Pharynx/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling , Viral Load
13.
Biomed Res Int ; 2021: 8856018, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1303204

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are enveloped nonsegmented positive-sense RNA viruses belonging to the family Coronaviridae that contain the largest genome among RNA viruses. Their genome encodes 4 major structural proteins, and among them, the Spike (S) protein plays a crucial role in determining the viral tropism. It mediates viral attachment to the host cell, fusion to the membranes, and cell entry using cellular proteases as activators. Several in vitro models have been developed to study the CoVs entry, pathogenesis, and possible therapeutic approaches. This article is aimed at summarizing the current knowledge about the use of relevant methodologies and cell lines permissive for CoV life cycle studies. The synthesis of this information can be useful for setting up specific experimental procedures. We also discuss different strategies for inhibiting the binding of the S protein to the cell receptors and the fusion process which may offer opportunities for therapeutic intervention.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , Coronaviridae , Models, Biological , Viral Tropism , Virus Internalization , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Cells, Cultured , Coronaviridae/drug effects , Coronaviridae/metabolism , Coronaviridae/pathogenicity , Coronaviridae/physiology , Coronaviridae Infections , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
14.
Viruses ; 13(7)2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302499

ABSTRACT

Complex systems are inherently multilevel and multiscale systems. The infectious disease system is considered a complex system resulting from the interaction between three sub-systems (host, pathogen, and environment) organized into a hierarchical structure, ranging from the cellular to the macro-ecosystem level, with multiscales. Therefore, to describe infectious disease phenomena that change through time and space and at different scales, we built a model framework where infectious disease must be considered the set of biological responses of human hosts to pathogens, with biological pathways shared with other pathologies in an ecological interaction context. In this paper, we aimed to design a framework for building a disease model for COVID-19 based on current literature evidence. The model was set up by identifying the molecular pathophysiology related to the COVID-19 phenotypes, collecting the mechanistic knowledge scattered across scientific literature and bioinformatic databases, and integrating it using a logical/conceptual model systems biology. The model framework building process began from the results of a domain-based literature review regarding a multiomics approach to COVID-19. This evidence allowed us to define a framework of COVID-19 conceptual model and to report all concepts in a multilevel and multiscale structure. The same interdisciplinary working groups that carried out the scoping review were involved. The conclusive result is a conceptual method to design multiscale models of infectious diseases. The methodology, applied in this paper, is a set of partially ordered research and development activities that result in a COVID-19 multiscale model.

15.
Antibodies (Basel) ; 10(3)2021 Jul 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295739

ABSTRACT

We report the isolation of two human IgG1k monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These mAbs were isolated from two donors who had recovered from COVID-19 infection during the first pandemic peak in the Lombardy region of Italy, the first European and initially most affected region in March 2020. We used the method of EBV immortalization of purified memory B cells and supernatant screening with a spike S1/2 assay for mAb isolation. This method allowed rapid isolation of clones, with one donor showing about 7% of clones positive against spike protein, whereas the other donor did not produce positive clones out of 91 tested. RNA was extracted from positive clones 39-47 days post-EBV infection, allowing VH and VL sequencing. The same clones were sequenced again after a further 100 days in culture, showing that no mutation had taken place during in vitro expansion. The B cell clones could be expanded in culture for more than 4 months after EBV immortalization and secreted the antibodies stably during that time, allowing to purify mg quantities of each mAb for functional assays without generating recombinant proteins. Unfortunately, neither mAb had significant neutralizing activity in a virus infection assay with several different SARS-CoV-2 isolates. The antibody sequences are made freely available.

16.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1286941

ABSTRACT

In European countries, autochthonous acute hepatitis E cases are caused by Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) genotype 3 and are usually observed as sporadic cases. In mid/late September 2019, a hepatitis E outbreak caused by HEV genotype 3 was recognized by detection of identical/highly similar HEV sequences in some hepatitis E cases from two Italian regions, Abruzzo and Lazio, with most cases from this latter region showing a link with Abruzzo. Overall, 47 cases of HEV infection were finally observed with onsets from 8 June 2019 to 6 December 2019; they represent a marked increase as compared with just a few cases in the same period of time in the past years and in the same areas. HEV sequencing was successful in 35 cases. The phylogenetic analysis of the viral sequences showed 30 of them grouped in three distinct molecular clusters, termed A, B, and C: strains in cluster A and B were of subtype 3e and strains in cluster C were of subtype 3f. No strains detected in Abruzzo in the past years clustered with the strains involved in the present outbreak. The outbreak curve showed partially overlapped temporal distribution of the three clusters. Analysis of collected epidemiological data identified pork products as the most likely source of the outbreak. Overall, the findings suggest that the outbreak might have been caused by newly and almost simultaneously introduced strains not previously circulating in this area, which are possibly harbored by pork products or live animals imported from outside Abruzzo. This possibility deserves further studies in this area in order to monitor the circulation of HEV in human cases as well as in pigs and wild boars.

17.
Microorganisms ; 9(6)2021 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278501

ABSTRACT

Vaccination is the main public health measure to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and hospitalization, and a massive worldwide scientific effort resulted in the rapid development of effective vaccines. This work aimed to define the dynamics of humoral and cell-mediated immune response in a cohort of health care workers (HCWs) who received a two-dose BNT162b2-mRNA vaccination. The serological response was evaluated by quantifying the anti-RBD and neutralizing antibodies. The cell-mediated response was performed by a whole blood test quantifying Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-2), produced in response to spike peptides. The BNT162b2-mRNA vaccine induced both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses against spike peptides in virtually all HCWs without previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a moderate inverse relation with age in the anti-RBD response. Spike-specific T cells produced several Th1 cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2), which correlated with the specific-serological response. Overall, our study describes the ability of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine to elicit a coordinated neutralizing humoral and spike-specific T cell response in HCWs. Assessing the dynamics of these parameters by an easy immune monitoring protocol can allow for the evaluation of the persistence of the vaccine response in order to define the optimal vaccination strategy.

18.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(6)2021 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264538

ABSTRACT

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is considered the most effective method of prevention to contain the pandemic. While highly effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are being applied on a large-scale, whether and to what extent the strength of the vaccine-induced immune response could be further potentiated is still an object of debate. Several reports studied the effect of different vaccines on the susceptibility and mortality of COVID-19, with conflicting results. We aimed to evaluate whether previous influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccination had an impact on the specific immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. The study population consists of 710 workers from our Institute who completed the BNT162b2 schedule and have been tested at least once after the second dose, from 27 December 2020 up to 15 April 2021. Of these, 152 (21.4%) had received an influenza and 215 (30.3%) a concomitant influenza and pneumococcal vaccination, a median of 102 days before the second dose of BNT162b2. Overall, 100% of workers were tested for anti-Spike receptor-binding domain (anti-S/RBD) antibodies, 224 workers for neutralization titer (Micro-neutralization assay, MNA), and 155 workers for a spike-specific T cell interferon-γ response (IFN-γ). The levels of anti-S/RBD, MNA and IFN-γ were evaluated and compared according to sex, age, involvement in direct care of COVID-19 patients, and previous influenza/pneumococcal vaccination. At the univariate analysis, no statistically significant association was observed with regard to a previous influenza and pneumococcal vaccination. A significant lower anti-S/RBD response was observed according to an older age and male sex, while MNA titers were significantly associated to sex but not to age. At the multivariable analysis, workers receiving a concomitant influenza and pneumococcal vaccination or only influenza showed a 58% (p 0.01) and 42% (p 0.07) increase in MNA titers, respectively, compared to those who did not receive an influenza/pneumococcal vaccination. Female workers showed an 81% MNA and a 44% anti-S/RBD increase compared to male workers (p < 0.001). Compared to workers aged 21 to 49 years, those aged 50 or older were associated with a reduction in the anti-S/RBD (16%; p 0.005), MNA (31%; p 0.019), and IFN.g (32%) immune response. Maintaining the influenza and pneumococcal immunization program for the coming season, in which COVID-19 could still be spreading, remains strongly recommended to protect those who are more vulnerable and to limit the potential burden of these infections on the healthcare system.

19.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 11334, 2021 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249212

ABSTRACT

Prophylactic low molecular weight heparin (pLMWH) is currently recommended in COVID-19 to reduce the risk of coagulopathy. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the antinflammatory effects of pLMWH could translate in lower rate of clinical progression in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Patients admitted to a COVID-hospital in Rome with SARS-CoV-2 infection and mild/moderate pneumonia were retrospectively evaluated. The primary endpoint was the time from hospital admission to orotracheal intubation/death (OTI/death). A total of 449 patients were included: 39% female, median age 63 (IQR, 50-77) years. The estimated probability of OTI/death for patients receiving pLMWH was: 9.5% (95% CI 3.2-26.4) by day 20 in those not receiving pLMWH vs. 10.4% (6.7-15.9) in those exposed to pLMWH; p-value = 0.144. This risk associated with the use of pLMWH appeared to vary by PaO2/FiO2 ratio: aHR 1.40 (95% CI 0.51-3.79) for patients with an admission PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 300 mmHg and 0.27 (0.03-2.18) for those with PaO2/FiO2 > 300 mmHg; p-value at interaction test 0.16. pLMWH does not seem to reduce the risk of OTI/death mild/moderate COVID-19 pneumonia, especially when respiratory function had already significantly deteriorated. Data from clinical trials comparing the effect of prophylactic vs. therapeutic dosage of LMWH at various stages of COVID-19 disease are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/mortality , Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/therapeutic use , Intubation, Intratracheal/statistics & numerical data , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Aged , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/physiopathology , Female , Humans , Kaplan-Meier Estimate , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Rome , Severity of Illness Index
20.
Front Pharmacol ; 12: 683529, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247897

ABSTRACT

The outcome of COVID-19 appears to be influenced by vitamin D status of population. Although epidemiological data indicate that COVID-19 produces more severe symptoms and higher mortality in elderly in comparison to young patients and in men in comparison to women to date sex and age differences in vitamin D status in infected patients have not been evaluated yet. In this study we evaluated the levels of circulating 25(OH)D in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 divided accordingly to their sex and age. We also correlated 25(OH)D levels with patient's respiratory status (i.e., PaO2/FiO2 ratio) and with sex hormones plasma levels to analyze the potential relationship of these parameters. We found no significant differences in plasma levels of 25(OH)D between pre- and post-menopausal female patients and age matched male patients. Interestingly, the 25(OH)D plasma levels positively correlated to PaO2/FiO2 ratio only in young patients, regardless of their sex. We also found a significantly positive correlation between 17ß-estradiol and 25(OH)D in elderly women and between testosterone and 25(OH)D in elderly men, supporting the role of sex hormones in maintaining 25(OH)D levels. In conclusion, we suggest that a synergy between vitamin D and sex hormones could contribute to the age-related outcome of COVID-19.

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