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1.
Pathogens ; 11(4)2022 Mar 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1822431

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 enters the body through inhalation or self-inoculation to mucosal surfaces. The kinetics of the ocular and nasal mucosal-specific-immunoglobulin A(IgA) responses remain under-studied. METHODS: Conjunctival fluid (CF, n = 140) and nasal epithelial lining fluid (NELF, n = 424) obtained by paper strips and plasma (n = 153) were collected longitudinally from SARS-CoV-2 paediatric (n = 34) and adult (n = 47) patients. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein 1(S1)-specific mucosal antibody levels in COVID-19 patients, from hospital admission to six months post-diagnosis, were assessed. RESULTS: The mucosal antibody was IgA-predominant. In the NELF of asymptomatic paediatric patients, S1-specific IgA was induced as early as the first four days post-diagnosis. Their plasma S1-specific IgG levels were higher than in symptomatic patients in the second week after diagnosis. The IgA and IgG levels correlated positively with the surrogate neutralization readout. The detectable NELF "receptor-blocking" S1-specific IgA in the first week after diagnosis correlated with a rapid decline in viral load. CONCLUSIONS: Early and intense nasal S1-specific IgA levels link to a rapid decrease in viral load. Our results provide insights into the role of mucosal immunity in SARS-CoV-2 exposure and protection. There may be a role of NELF IgA in the screening and diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

2.
Clin Exp Ophthalmol ; 50(4): 398-406, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714157

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We investigated the ocular surface disturbances in COVID-19 patients discharged from the hospital. METHODS: One hundred and seventy-nine eyes of 109 healthy participants and 456 eyes of 228 post-COVID-19 patients received comprehensive eye examinations; the latter were interviewed with questionnaires on ocular symptoms before and after COVID-19 diagnosis. Associations of ocular surface manifestations with virological and ophthalmic parameters were evaluated by multivariable mixed linear or logistic regression models. RESULTS: Mean interval between COVID-19 diagnosis and ophthalmic evaluation was 52.23 ± 16.12 days. The severity of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) based on clinical staging was higher in post-COVID-19 than healthy eyes (1.14 ± 0.67 vs. 0.92 ± 0.68, p = 0.002) and so was ocular surface staining score (0.60 ± 0.69 vs. 0.49 ± 0.68, p = 0.044). Patients requiring supplementary oxygen during hospitalisation had shorter tear break-up time (ß -1.63, 95% CI -2.61 to -0.65). Cycle threshold (Ct) value from upper respiratory samples (inversely correlated with viral load) at diagnosis had an OR = 0.91 (95% CI 0.84-0.98) with new ocular surface symptoms 4 weeks after diagnosis. The presence of ocular surface symptoms 1 week prior to COVID-19 diagnosis showed an OR of 20.89 (95% CI 6.35-68.66) of persistent or new ocular symptoms 4 weeks afterward. CONCLUSIONS: MGD and ocular surface staining are more common and severe in post-COVID-19 patients. Patients with higher viral loads have greater risks of ocular surface symptoms. Patients requiring supplementary oxygen are more likely to show tear film instability. Ocular surface evaluation should be considered 1-3 months following hospital discharge for any COVID-19 patient.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dry Eye Syndromes , Eyelid Diseases , Meibomian Gland Dysfunction , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Dry Eye Syndromes/diagnosis , Humans , Meibomian Glands , Oxygen , Tears
3.
Pathogens ; 11(2)2022 Feb 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715596

ABSTRACT

Characterized by the high morbidity and mortality and seasonal surge, the influenza virus (IV) remains a major public health challenge. Oseltamivir is commonly used as a first-line antiviral. As a neuraminidase inhibitor, it attenuates the penetration of viruses through the mucus on the respiratory tract and inhibits the release of virus progeny from infected cells. However, over the years, oseltamivir-resistant strains have been detected in the IV surveillance programs. Therefore, new antivirals that circumvent the resistant strains would be of great importance. In this study, two novel secondary amine derivatives of oseltamivir CUHK326 (6f) and CUHK392 (10i), which bear heteroaryl groups of M2-S31 proton channel inhibitors, were designed, synthesized and subjected to biological evaluation using plaque assay. Influenza A virus (A/Oklahoma/447/2008, H1N1), influenza B viruses (B/HongKong/CUHK33261/2012), an oseltamivir-resistant influenza A virus (A/HongKong/CUHK71923/2009, H1N1) and an oseltamivir-resistant influenza B virus (B/HongKong/CUHK33280/2012) were included in the antiviral effect assessment compared to oseltamivir carboxylate (OC). Both novel compounds significantly reduced the plaque size of seasonal IV A and B, and performed similarly to OC at their corresponding half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50). CUHK392 (10i) functioned more effectively than CUHK326 (6f). More importantly, these compounds showed an inhibitory effect on the oseltamivir-resistant strain under 10 nM with selective index (SI) of >200.

4.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325537

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the enveloped RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from faecal samples and active viral replication was reported in human intestinal cells. The human gut also harbors an enormous amount of resident viruses (collectively known as the virome) that play a role in regulating host immunity and disease pathophysiology. Understanding gut virome perturbation that underlies SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity is an unmet need. Methods: : We enrolled 98 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severity (3 asymptomatic, 53 mild, 34 moderate, 5 severe, 3 critical) and 78 non-COVID-19 controls matched for gender and co-morbidities. All subjects had faecal specimens sampled at inclusion. Blood specimens were collected for COVID-19 patients at admission to test for inflammatory markers and white cell counts. Among COVID-19 cases, 37 (38%) patients had serial faecal samples collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until after discharge. Using shotgun metagenomics sequencing, we sequenced and profiled the faecal RNA and DNA virome. We investigated alterations and longitudinal dynamics of the gut virome in association with disease severity and blood parameters. Results: : Patients with COVID-19 showed underrepresentation of Pepper mild mottle virus (RNA virus) and multiple bacteriophage lineages (DNA viruses) and enrichment of environment-derived eukaryotic DNA viruses in faecal samples, compared to non-COVID-19 subjects. Such gut virome alterations persisted up to 30 days after disease resolution. Faecal virome in SARS-CoV-2 infection harboured more stress-, inflammation- and virulence-associated gene encoding capacities including those pertaining to bacteriophage integration, DNA repair, and metabolism and virulence associated with their bacterial host. Baseline fecal abundance of 10 virus species (1 RNA virus, Pepper chlorotic spot virus, and 9 DNA virus species) inversely correlated with disease COVID-19 severity. These viruses inversely correlated with blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, white cells and neutrophils. Among the 10 COVID-19 severity-associated DNA virus species, 4 showed inverse correlation with age;5 showed persistent lower abundance both during disease course and after disease resolution relative to non-COVID-19 subjects. Conclusions: Both enteric RNA and DNA virome in COVID-19 patients were different from non-COVID-19 subjects, which persisted after disease resolution of COVID-19. Gut virome may calibrate host immunity and regulate severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observation that gut viruses inversely correlated with both severity of COVID-19 and host age may partly explain that older subjects are prone to severe and worse COVID-19 outcomes. Altogether our data highlight the importance of human gut virome in severity and potentially therapeutics of COVID-19.

5.
J Gastroenterol Hepatol ; 37(5): 823-831, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685355

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Gut dysbiosis is associated with immune dysfunction and severity of COVID-19. Whether targeting dysbiosis will improve outcomes of COVID-19 is unknown. This study aimed to assess the effects of a novel gut microbiota-derived synbiotic formula (SIM01) as an adjuvant therapy on immunological responses and changes in gut microbiota of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. METHODS: This was an open-label, proof-of-concept study. Consecutive COVID-19 patients admitted to an infectious disease referral center in Hong Kong were given a novel formula of Bifidobacteria strains, galactooligosaccharides, xylooligosaccharide, and resistant dextrin (SIM01). The latter was derived from metagenomic databases of COVID-19 patients and healthy population. COVID-19 patients who were admitted under another independent infectious disease team during the same period without receiving SIM01 acted as controls. All patients received standard treatments for COVID-19 according to the hospital protocol. We assessed antibody response, plasma proinflammatory markers, nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load, and fecal microbiota profile from admission up to week 5. RESULTS: Twenty-five consecutive COVID-19 patients received SIM01 for 28 days; 30 patients who did not receive the formula acted as controls. Significantly more patients receiving SIM01 than controls developed SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody (88% vs 63.3%; P = 0.037) by Day 16. One (4%) and 8 patients (26.7%) in the SIM01 and control group, respectively, failed to develop positive IgG antibody upon discharge. At week 5, plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and IL-1RA reduced significantly in the SIM01 but not in the control group. There was a significant negative correlation of nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load and SIM01 intervention. Metagenomic analysis showed that bacterial species in SIM01 formula were found in greater abundance leading to enrichment of commensal bacteria and suppression of opportunistic pathogens in COVID-19 patients by week 4 and week 5. CONCLUSIONS: This proof-of-concept study suggested that the use of a novel gut microbiota-derived synbiotic formula, SIM01, hastened antibody formation against SARS-CoV-2, reduced nasopharyngeal viral load, reduced pro-inflammatory immune markers, and restored gut dysbiosis in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Synbiotics , Bacteria , COVID-19/therapy , Dysbiosis , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2
6.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0261778, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613357

ABSTRACT

Many CRISPR/Cas platforms have been established for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. But the detection platform of the variants of SARS-CoV-2 is scarce because its specificity is very challenging to achieve for those with only one or a few nucleotide(s) differences. Here, we report for the first time that chimeric crRNA could be critical in enhancing the specificity of CRISPR-Cas12a detecting of N501Y, which is shared by Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Mu variants of SARS-CoV-2 without compromising its sensitivity. This strategy could also be applied to detect other SARS-CoV-2 variants that differ only one or a few nucleotide(s) differences.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , CRISPR-Cas Systems/genetics , DNA Primers/genetics , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Humans , Mutation/genetics , RNA, Guide/genetics , RNA, Guide/metabolism , Sensitivity and Specificity
7.
Public Health Genomics ; : 1-4, 2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1606251

ABSTRACT

During coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the genetic mutations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) occurred frequently. Some mutations in the spike protein are considered to promote transmissibility of the virus, while the mutation patterns in other proteins are less studied and may also be important in understanding the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2. We used the sequencing data of SARS-CoV-2 strains in California to investigate the time-varying patterns of the evolutionary genetic distance. The accumulative genetic distances were quantified across different time periods and in different viral proteins. The increasing trends of genetic distance were observed in spike protein (S protein), the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) region and nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3) of open reading frame 1 (ORF1), and nucleocapsid protein (N protein). The genetic distances in ORF3a, ORF8, and nsp2 of ORF1 started to diverge from their original variants after September 2020. By contrast, mutations in other proteins appeared transiently, and no evident increasing trend was observed in the genetic distance to the original variants. This study presents distinct patterns of the SARS-CoV-2 mutations across multiple proteins from the aspect of genetic distance. Future investigation shall be conducted to study the effects of accumulative mutations on epidemics characteristics.

8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 763292, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581338

ABSTRACT

The cytokine release syndrome has been proposed as the driver of inflammation in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, studies on longitudinal cytokine profiles in patients across the whole severity spectrum of COVID-19 are lacking. In this prospective observational study on adult COVID-19 patients admitted to two Hong Kong public hospitals, cytokine profiling was performed on blood samples taken during early phase (within 7 days of symptom onset) and late phase (8 to 12 days of symptom onset). The primary objective was to evaluate the difference in early and late cytokine profiles among patient groups with different disease severity. The secondary objective was to assess the associations between cytokines and clinical endpoints in critically ill patients. A total of 40 adult patients (mild = 8, moderate = 15, severe/critical = 17) hospitalized with COVID-19 were included in this study. We found 22 cytokines which were correlated with disease severity, as proinflammatory Th1-related cytokines (interleukin (IL)-18, interferon-induced protein-10 (IP-10), monokine-induced by gamma interferon (MIG), and IL-10) and ARDS-associated cytokines (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and IL-8) were progressively elevated with increasing disease severity. Furthermore, 11 cytokines were consistently different in both early and late phases, including seven (growth-regulated oncogene-alpha (GRO-α), IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IP-10, and MIG) that increased and four (FGF-2, IL-5, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and MIP-1α) that decreased from mild to severe/critical patients. IL-8, followed by IP-10 and MDC were the best performing early biomarkers to predict disease severity. Among critically ill patients, MCP-1 predicted the duration of mechanical ventilation, highest norepinephrine dose administered, and length of intensive care stay.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/blood , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Hong Kong , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
9.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296125

ABSTRACT

Background Investigations of the natural viral interference effect between rhinovirus (RV) and influenza virus (IV) were conducted in temperate regions. We conducted an epidemiological study in Hong Kong, a major epicentre of influenza virus in the sub-tropical region. RV is the most prevalent respiratory virus year-round and causes asymptomatic to mild symptoms while IV infection exerts a great burden of public health. We aimed to examine the correlation of RV prevalence against IV activity. Methods Nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPA) collected from patients hospitalized in the regional hospitals from 2015 to 2019 were examined for the presence of respiratory viruses. The correlation of the monthly prevalence between all pairs of virus infection, the co-infection rate and the temporal interference of RV and IV were tested. The viral interference was validated in vitro by conducting sequential RV and IV infection in the well-differentiated primary human airway epithelial cells. Findings A total of 112,926 NPA were evaluated, and the Enterovirus/RV was the most prevalent respiratory virus detected. The negative correlation between EV/RV and IVs prevalence was independent of age and meteorological factors. Co-infection of EV/RV and IV was significantly less when compared with other virus pairs. Prior exposure to RV inhibited the replication of influenza A, B and oseltamivir-resistance stain in vitro and the inhibition is replication dependent. Interpretation Epidemiological surveillance and the sequential infection in vitro suggested viral interference between EV/RV and IV operated at the population, individual and cellular levels. Funding This study was supported by the General Research Fund (Ref: 24107017 and 14103119 to RWYC), Health and Medical Research Fund (Ref: COVID190112 to RWYC) and the Chinese University Direct Grant for Research (Ref: 2019.073 to RWYC).

10.
Infect Genet Evol ; 97: 105162, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540856

ABSTRACT

The circulation of SARS-CoV-2 Delta (i.e., B.1.617.2) variants challenges the pandemic control. Our analysis showed that in the United Kingdom (UK), the reported case fatality ratio (CFR) decreased from May to July 2021 for non-Delta variant, whereas the decreasing trends of the CFR of Delta variant appeared weak and insignificant. The association between vaccine coverage and CFR might be stratified by different circulating variants. Due to the limitation of ecological study design, the interpretation of our results should be treated with caution.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Vaccination Coverage/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/transmission , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans , Mortality/trends , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Time Factors , United Kingdom/epidemiology
11.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(11): e2132923, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1516695

ABSTRACT

Importance: Seroprevalence studies inform the extent of infection and assist evaluation of mitigation strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic. Objective: To estimate the prevalence of unidentified SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population of Hong Kong. Design, Setting, and Participants: A prospective cross-sectional study was conducted in Hong Kong after each major wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (April 21 to July 7, 2020; September 29 to November 23, 2020; and January 15 to April 18, 2021). Adults (age ≥18 years) who had not been diagnosed with COVID-19 were recruited during each period, and their sociodemographic information, symptoms, travel, contact, quarantine, and COVID-19 testing history were collected. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome was prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies were detected by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay based on spike (S1/S2) protein, followed by confirmation with a commercial electrochemiluminescence immunoassay based on the receptor binding domain of spike protein. Results: The study enrolled 4198 participants (2539 [60%] female; median age, 50 years [IQR, 25 years]), including 903 (22%), 1046 (25%), and 2249 (53%) during April 21 to July 7, 2020; during September 29 to November 23, 2020; and during January 15 to April 18, 2021, respectively. The numbers of participants aged 18 to 39 years, 40 to 59 years, and 60 years or older were 1328 (32%), 1645 (39%), and 1225 (29%), respectively. Among the participants, 2444 (58%) stayed in Hong Kong since November 2019 and 2094 (50%) had negative SARS-CoV-2 RNA test results. Only 170 (4%) reported ever having contact with individuals with confirmed cases, and 5% had been isolated or quarantined. Most (2803 [67%]) did not recall any illnesses, whereas 737 (18%), 212 (5%), and 385 (9%) had experienced respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, or both, respectively, before testing. Six participants were confirmed to be positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG; the adjusted prevalence of unidentified infection was 0.15% (95% CI, 0.06%-0.32%). Extrapolating these findings to the whole population, there were fewer than 1.9 unidentified infections for every recorded confirmed case. The overall prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Hong Kong before the roll out of vaccination was less than 0.45%. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cross-sectional study of participants from the general public in Hong Kong, the prevalence of unidentified SARS-CoV-2 infection was low after 3 major waves of the pandemic, suggesting the success of the pandemic mitigation by stringent isolation and quarantine policies even without complete city lockdown. More than 99.5% of the general population of Hong Kong remain naive to SARS-CoV-2, highlighting the urgent need to achieve high vaccine coverage.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Population Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Hong Kong , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Population Surveillance , Prevalence , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
12.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488803

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccine hesitancy represents one of the major global health issues around the world. We examined the perception, attitude, perceived barriers and facilitation measures of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in a Chinese population with free vaccine choices (Sinovac [Coronavac] vs. BioNTech/Fosun [Comirnaty]) and adequate doses. METHOD: We conducted a random telephone survey of the general population in 1195 subjects aged 18 years or above from 23 April 2021 to 8 May 2021 after two months of vaccine rollout. A descriptive analysis of the levels of enabling factors, obstacles and perception of COVID-19 vaccination was conducted using ANOVA and Chi-square tests for trend. RESULTS: Only 10.1% and 13.5% had received one and two COVID-19 vaccine doses, respectively. Among those who had not received any COVID-19 vaccine (75.4%), only 25.1% expressed their intention to receive in the coming 6 months. The barriers with the highest scores included "having heard of cases with serious adverse events or death after vaccination" (score: 8.17 out 10, 95% C.I. 7.99, 8.35), "lack of confidence on governmental recommendations" (7.69, 95% C.I. 7.47, 7.91), and "waiting for a better vaccine" (7.29, 95% C.I. 7.07, 7.52). The highest score for the impact of various incentives for vaccination was for "vaccine passports for overseas travel" (4.44, 95% C.I. 4.18, 4.71). CONCLUSIONS: Vaccine hesitancy is commonly observed in this Chinese population despite adequate provision of vaccine doses and choices. No single incentive is strong enough to promote vaccination, and multiple facilitation measures for different groups of population are needed to encourage vaccine uptake. Active clarification and promotion by medical professionals together with a variety of incentives are needed to drive vaccine uptake.

13.
Gastroenterology ; 162(2): 548-561.e4, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475507

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with altered gut microbiota composition. Phylogenetic groups of gut bacteria involved in the metabolism of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were depleted in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. We aimed to characterize a functional profile of the gut microbiome in patients with COVID-19 before and after disease resolution. METHODS: We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing on fecal samples from 66 antibiotics-naïve patients with COVID-19 and 70 non-COVID-19 controls. Serial fecal samples were collected (at up to 6 times points) during hospitalization and beyond 1 month after discharge. We assessed gut microbial pathways in association with disease severity and blood inflammatory markers. We also determined changes of microbial functions in fecal samples before and after disease resolution and validated these functions using targeted analysis of fecal metabolites. RESULTS: Compared with non-COVID-19 controls, patients with COVID-19 with severe/critical illness showed significant alterations in gut microbiome functionality (P < .001), characterized by impaired capacity of gut microbiome for SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis and enhanced capacity for urea production. Impaired SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis in gut microbiome persisted beyond 30 days after recovery in patients with COVID-19. Targeted analysis of fecal metabolites showed significantly lower fecal concentrations of SCFAs and L-isoleucine in patients with COVID-19 before and after disease resolution. Lack of SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis significantly correlated with disease severity and increased plasma concentrations of CXCL-10, NT- proB-type natriuretic peptide, and C-reactive protein (all P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: Gut microbiome of patients with COVID-19 displayed impaired capacity for SCFA and L-isoleucine biosynthesis that persisted even after disease resolution. These 2 microbial functions correlated with host immune response underscoring the importance of gut microbial functions in SARS-CoV-2 infection pathogenesis and outcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/microbiology , Fatty Acids, Volatile/biosynthesis , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Immunity/physiology , Isoleucine/biosynthesis , Adult , Biomarkers/blood , Case-Control Studies , Feces/microbiology , Female , Humans , Male , Metagenomics , Middle Aged , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
14.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 1039, 2021 Oct 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455943

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic poses serious threats to global health, and the emerging mutation in SARS-CoV-2 genomes, e.g., the D614G substitution, is one of the major challenges of disease control. Characterizing the role of the mutation activities is of importance to understand how the evolution of pathogen shapes the epidemiological outcomes at population scale. METHODS: We developed a statistical framework to reconstruct variant-specific reproduction numbers and estimate transmission advantage associated with the mutation activities marked by single substitution empirically. Using likelihood-based approach, the model is exemplified with the COVID-19 surveillance data from January 1 to June 30, 2020 in California, USA. We explore the potential of this framework to generate early warning signals for detecting transmission advantage on a real-time basis. RESULTS: The modelling framework in this study links together the mutation activity at molecular scale and COVID-19 transmissibility at population scale. We find a significant transmission advantage of COVID-19 associated with the D614G substitution, which increases the infectivity by 54% (95%CI: 36, 72). For the early alarming potentials, the analytical framework is demonstrated to detect this transmission advantage, before the mutation reaches dominance, on a real-time basis. CONCLUSIONS: We reported an evidence of transmission advantage associated with D614G substitution, and highlighted the real-time estimating potentials of modelling framework.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Likelihood Functions , Mutation , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
15.
R Soc Open Sci ; 8(9): 201867, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429382

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread worldwide and threatened human life. Diagnosis is crucial to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections and save lives. Diagnostic tests for COVID-19 have varying sensitivity and specificity, and the false-negative results would have substantial consequences to patient treatment and pandemic control. To detect all suspected infections, multiple testing is widely used. However, it may be challenging to build an assertion when the testing results are inconsistent. Considering the situation where there is more than one diagnostic outcome for each subject, we proposed a Bayesian probabilistic framework based on the sensitivity and specificity of each diagnostic method to synthesize a posterior probability of being infected by SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrated that the synthesized posterior outcome outperformed each individual testing outcome. A user-friendly web application was developed to implement our analytic framework with free access via http://www2.ccrb.cuhk.edu.hk/statgene/COVID_19/. The web application enables the real-time display of the integrated outcome incorporating two or more tests and calculated based on Bayesian posterior probability. A simulation-based assessment demonstrated higher accuracy and precision of the Bayesian probabilistic model compared with a single-test outcome. The online tool developed in this study can assist physicians in making clinical evaluations by effectively integrating multiple COVID-19 tests.

18.
Microbiome ; 9(1): 91, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183579

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the enveloped RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from fecal samples, and active viral replication was reported in human intestinal cells. The human gut also harbors an enormous amount of resident viruses (collectively known as the virome) that play a role in regulating host immunity and disease pathophysiology. Understanding gut virome perturbation that underlies SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity is an unmet need. METHODS: We enrolled 98 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severity (3 asymptomatic, 53 mild, 34 moderate, 5 severe, 3 critical) and 78 non-COVID-19 controls matched for gender and co-morbidities. All subjects had fecal specimens sampled at inclusion. Blood specimens were collected for COVID-19 patients at admission to test for inflammatory markers and white cell counts. Among COVID-19 cases, 37 (38%) patients had serial fecal samples collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until after discharge. Using shotgun metagenomics sequencing, we sequenced and profiled the fecal RNA and DNA virome. We investigated alterations and longitudinal dynamics of the gut virome in association with disease severity and blood parameters. RESULTS: Patients with COVID-19 showed underrepresentation of Pepper mild mottle virus (RNA virus) and multiple bacteriophage lineages (DNA viruses) and enrichment of environment-derived eukaryotic DNA viruses in fecal samples, compared to non-COVID-19 subjects. Such gut virome alterations persisted up to 30 days after disease resolution. Fecal virome in SARS-CoV-2 infection harbored more stress-, inflammation-, and virulence-associated gene encoding capacities including those pertaining to bacteriophage integration, DNA repair, and metabolism and virulence associated with their bacterial host. Baseline fecal abundance of 10 virus species (1 RNA virus, pepper chlorotic spot virus, and 9 DNA virus species) inversely correlated with disease COVID-19 severity. These viruses inversely correlated with blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, white cells, and neutrophils. Among the 10 COVID-19 severity-associated DNA virus species, 4 showed inverse correlation with age; 5 showed persistent lower abundance both during disease course and after disease resolution relative to non-COVID-19 subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Both enteric RNA and DNA virome in COVID-19 patients were different from non-COVID-19 subjects, which persisted after disease resolution of COVID-19. Gut virome may calibrate host immunity and regulate severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observation that gut viruses inversely correlated with both severity of COVID-19 and host age may partly explain that older subjects are prone to severe and worse COVID-19 outcomes. Altogether, our data highlight the importance of human gut virome in severity and potentially therapeutics of COVID-19. Video Abstract.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Child, Preschool , DNA , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Humans , RNA , SARS-CoV-2 , Virome
19.
Viruses ; 13(4)2021 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178428

ABSTRACT

As COVID-19 is posing a serious threat to global health, the emerging mutation in SARS-CoV-2 genomes, for example, N501Y substitution, is one of the major challenges against control of the pandemic. Characterizing the relationship between mutation activities and the risk of severe clinical outcomes is of public health importance for informing the healthcare decision-making process. Using a likelihood-based approach, we developed a statistical framework to reconstruct a time-varying and variant-specific case fatality ratio (CFR), and to estimate changes in CFR associated with a single mutation empirically. For illustration, the statistical framework is implemented to the COVID-19 surveillance data in the United Kingdom (UK). The reconstructed instantaneous CFR gradually increased from 1.0% in September to 2.2% in November 2020 and stabilized at this level thereafter, which monitors the mortality risk of COVID-19 on a real-time basis. We identified a link between the SARS-CoV-2 mutation activity at molecular scale and COVID-19 mortality risk at population scale, and found that the 501Y variants may slightly but not significantly increase 18% of fatality risk than the preceding 501N variants. We found no statistically significant evidence of change in COVID-19 mortality risk associated with 501Y variants, and highlighted the real-time estimating potentials of the modelling framework.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Humans , Likelihood Functions , Models, Biological , Pandemics , Public Health , United Kingdom/epidemiology
20.
Theor Biol Med Model ; 18(1): 10, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1127712

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to global health, and pathogenic mutations are a major challenge to disease control. We developed a statistical framework to explore the association between molecular-level mutation activity of SARS-CoV-2 and population-level disease transmissibility of COVID-19. METHODS: We estimated the instantaneous transmissibility of COVID-19 by using the time-varying reproduction number (Rt). The mutation activity in SARS-CoV-2 is quantified empirically depending on (i) the prevalence of emerged amino acid substitutions and (ii) the frequency of these substitutions in the whole sequence. Using the likelihood-based approach, a statistical framework is developed to examine the association between mutation activity and Rt. We adopted the COVID-19 surveillance data in California as an example for demonstration. RESULTS: We found a significant positive association between population-level COVID-19 transmissibility and the D614G substitution on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We estimate that a per 0.01 increase in the prevalence of glycine (G) on codon 614 is positively associated with a 0.49% (95% CI: 0.39 to 0.59) increase in Rt, which explains 61% of the Rt variation after accounting for the control measures. We remark that the modeling framework can be extended to study other infectious pathogens. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show a link between the molecular-level mutation activity of SARS-CoV-2 and population-level transmission of COVID-19 to provide further evidence for a positive association between the D614G substitution and Rt. Future studies exploring the mechanism between SARS-CoV-2 mutations and COVID-19 infectivity are warranted.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/transmission , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , California/epidemiology , Humans , Likelihood Functions , Pandemics
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