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2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852993

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 can infect human and other mammals, including hamsters. Syrian (Mesocricetus auratus) and dwarf (Phodopus sp.) hamsters are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in the laboratory setting. However, pet shop-related COVID-19 outbreaks have not been reported. METHODS: We conducted an investigation of a pet shop-related COVID-19 outbreak due to Delta variant AY.127 involving at least three patients in Hong Kong. We tested samples collected from the patients, environment, and hamsters linked to this outbreak and performed whole genome sequencing analysis of the RT-PCR-positive samples. RESULTS: The patients included a pet shop keeper (Patient 1), a female customer of the pet shop (Patient 2), and the husband of Patient 2 (Patient 3). Investigation showed that 17.2% (5/29) and 25.5% (13/51) environmental specimens collected from the pet shop and its related warehouse, respectively, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR. Among euthanized hamsters randomly collected from the storehouse, 3% (3/100) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR and seropositive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody by ELISA. Whole genome analysis showed that although all genomes from the outbreak belonged to the Delta variant AY.127, there were at least 3 nucleotide differences among the genomes from different patients and the hamster cages. Genomic analysis suggests that multiple strains have emerged within the hamster population, and these different strains have likely transmitted to human either via direct contact or via the environment. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated probable hamster-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As pet trading is common around the world, this can represent a route of international spread of this pandemic virus.

3.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2539, 2022 05 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830055

ABSTRACT

Extrapulmonary complications of different organ systems have been increasingly recognized in patients with severe or chronic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, limited information on the skeletal complications of COVID-19 is known, even though inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract have been known to perturb bone metabolism and cause pathological bone loss. In this study, we characterize the effects of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection on bone metabolism in an established golden Syrian hamster model for COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 causes significant multifocal loss of bone trabeculae in the long bones and lumbar vertebrae of all infected hamsters. Moreover, we show that the bone loss is associated with SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine dysregulation, as the circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines not only upregulate osteoclastic differentiation in bone tissues, but also trigger an amplified pro-inflammatory cascade in the skeletal tissues to augment their pro-osteoclastogenesis effect. Our findings suggest that pathological bone loss may be a neglected complication which warrants more extensive investigations during the long-term follow-up of COVID-19 patients. The benefits of potential prophylactic and therapeutic interventions against pathological bone loss should be further evaluated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726021

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) signals an urgent need for an expansion in treatment options. In this study, we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of 22 antiviral agents with known broad-spectrum antiviral activities against coronaviruses and/or other viruses. They were first evaluated in our primary screening in VeroE6 cells and then the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral agents were further evaluated using viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays. In addition to remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine, our primary screening additionally identified types I and II recombinant interferons, 25-hydroxycholesterol, and AM580 as the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents among the 22 antiviral agents. Betaferon (interferon-ß1b) exhibited the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays among the recombinant interferons. The lipogenesis modulators 25-hydroxycholesterol and AM580 exhibited EC50 at low micromolar levels and selectivity indices of >10.0. Combinational use of these host-based antiviral agents with virus-based antivirals to target different processes of the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle should be evaluated in animal models and/or clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Animals , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Lipogenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Plaque Assay , Virus Replication/drug effects
6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316481

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses have repeatedly crossed species barriers to cause epidemics 1 . “Pan-coronavirus” antivirals targeting conserved viral components involved in coronavirus replication, such as the extensively glycosylated spike protein, can be designed. Here we show that the rationally engineered H84T-banana lectin (H84T-BanLec), which specifically recognizes high-mannose found on viral proteins but seldom on healthy human cells 2 , potently inhibits the highly virulent MERS-CoV, pandemic SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, and other human-pathogenic coronaviruses at nanomolar concentrations. MERS-CoV-infected human DPP4-transgenic mice treated by H84T-BanLec have significantly higher survival, lower viral burden, and reduced pulmonary damage. Similarly, prophylactic or therapeutic H84T-BanLec is effective against SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters. Importantly, intranasally and intraperitoneally administered H84T-BanLec are comparably effective. Time-of-drug-addition assay shows that H84T-BanLec targets virus entry. Real-time structural analysis with high-speed atomic force microscopy depicts multi-molecular associations of H84T-BanLec dimers with the SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer. Single-molecule force spectroscopy demonstrates binding of H84T-BanLec to multiple SARS-CoV-2 spike mannose sites with high affinity, and that H84T-BanLec competes with SARS-CoV-2 spike for binding to cellular ACE2. Modelling experiments identify distinct high-mannose glycans in spike recognized by H84T-BanLec. The multiple H84T-BanLec binding sites on spike likely account for the activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants and the lack of resistant mutants. The broad-spectrum H84T-BanLec should be clinically evaluated in respiratory viral infections including COVID-19.

8.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 519-531, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642257

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACTHost circular RNAs (circRNAs) play critical roles in the pathogenesis of viral infections. However, how viruses modulate the biogenesis of host proviral circRNAs to facilitate their replication remains unclear. We have recently shown that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection increases co-expression of circRNAs and their cognate messenger RNAs (mRNAs), possibly by hijacking specific host RNA binding proteins (RBPs). In this study, we systemically analysed the interactions between the representative circRNA-mRNA pairs upregulated upon MERS-CoV infection and host RBPs. Our analysis identified heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNP C) as a key host factor that governed the expression of numerous MERS-CoV-perturbed circRNAs, including hsa_circ_0002846, hsa_circ_0002061, and hsa_circ_0004445. RNA immunoprecipitation assay showed that hnRNP C could bind physically to these circRNAs. Specific knockdown of hnRNP C by small interfering RNA significantly (P < 0.05 to P < 0.0001) suppressed MERS-CoV replication in human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu-3) and human small airway epithelial (HSAEC) cells. Both MERS-CoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection increased the total and phosphorylated forms of hnRNP C to activate the downstream CRK-mTOR pathway. Treatment of MERS-CoV- (IC50: 0.618 µM) or SARS-CoV-2-infected (IC50: 1.233 µM) Calu-3 cells with the mTOR inhibitor OSI-027 resulted in significantly reduced viral loads. Collectively, our study identified hnRNP C as a key regulator of MERS-CoV-perturbed circRNAs and their cognate mRNAs, and the potential of targeting hnRNP C-related signalling pathways as an anticoronaviral strategy.


Subject(s)
Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group C , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , RNA, Circular/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Replication , COVID-19 , Cognition , Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group C/genetics , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296805

ABSTRACT

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 was only recently detected in southern Africa, but its subsequent spread has been extensive, both regionally and globally1. It is expected to become dominant in the coming weeks2, probably due to enhanced transmissibility. A striking feature of this variant is the large number of spike mutations3 that pose a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapies4. This concern is amplified by the findings from our study. We found B.1.1.529 to be markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines. Even serum from persons vaccinated and boosted with mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B.1.1.529. By evaluating a panel of monoclonal antibodies to all known epitope clusters on the spike protein, we noted that the activity of 18 of the 19 antibodies tested were either abolished or impaired, including ones currently authorized or approved for use in patients. In addition, we also identified four new spike mutations (S371L, N440K, G446S, and Q493R) that confer greater antibody resistance to B.1.1.529. The Omicron variant presents a serious threat to many existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, compelling the development of new interventions that anticipate the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2.

10.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-291499

ABSTRACT

Extrapulmonary complications of different organ systems have been increasingly recognized in patients with severe or chronic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, limited information on the skeletal complications of COVID-19 is known, even though inflammatory diseases of the respiratory tract have been known to perturb bone metabolism and cause pathological bone loss. In this study, we characterized the effects of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection on bone metabolism in an established golden Syrian hamster model for COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 causes significant multifocal loss of bone trabeculae in the long bones and lumbar vertebrae of all infected hamsters. The bone loss progressively worsens from the acute phase to the post-recovery phase. Mechanistically, the bone loss was associated with SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine dysregulation which upregulates osteoclastic differentiation of monocyte-macrophage lineage. The pro-inflammatory cytokines further trigger a second wave of cytokine storm in the skeletal tissues to augment their pro-osteoclastogenesis effect. Our findings in this established hamster model suggest that pathological bone loss may be a neglected complication which warrants more extensive investigations during the long-term follow-up of COVID-19 patients. The benefits of potential prophylactic and therapeutic interventions against pathological bone loss should be further evaluated.

11.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429186

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effect of low environmental temperature on viral shedding and disease severity of COVID-19 is uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the virological, clinical, pathological, and immunological changes in hamsters housed at room (21 oC), low (12-15 oC), and high (30-33 oC) temperature after challenge by 10 5 plaque-forming units of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: The nasal turbinate, trachea, and lung viral load and live virus titre were significantly higher (~0.5-log10 gene copies/ß-actin, p<0.05) in the low temperature group at 7 days post-infection (dpi). The low temperature group also demonstrated significantly higher level of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1ß, and CCL3, and lower level of the antiviral IFN-α in lung tissues at 4dpi than the other two groups. Their lungs were grossly and diffusely haemorrhagic, with more severe and diffuse alveolar and peribronchiolar inflammatory infiltration, bronchial epithelial cell death, and significantly higher mean total lung histology scores. By 7dpi, the low temperature group still showed persistent and severe alveolar inflammation and haemorrhage, and little alveolar cell proliferative changes of recovery. The viral loads in the oral swabs of the low temperature group were significantly higher from 10-17dpi by about 0.5-1.0-log10 gene copies/ß-actin. The mean neutralizing antibody titre of the low temperature group was significantly (p<0.05) lower than that of the room temperature group at 7dpi and 30dpi. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that low environmental temperature exacerbated the degree of virus shedding, disease severity, and tissue proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines expression, and suppressed the neutralizing antibody response of SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters. Keeping warm in winter may reduce the severity of COVID-19.

12.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(6): 1555-1564, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206436

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the novel lineage B betacoroanvirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in significant mortality, morbidity, and socioeconomic disruptions worldwide. Effective antivirals are urgently needed for COVID-19. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive antiviral target because of its essential role in the cleavage of the viral polypeptide. In this study, we performed an in silico structure-based screening of a large chemical library to identify potential SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. Among 8,820 compounds in the library, our screening identified trichostatin A, a histone deacetylase inhibitor and an antifungal compound, as an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity and replication. The half maximal effective concentration of trichostatin A against SARS-CoV-2 replication was 1.5 to 2.7µM, which was markedly below its 50% effective cytotoxic concentration (75.7µM) and peak serum concentration (132µM). Further drug compound optimization to develop more stable analogues with longer half-lives should be performed. This structure-based drug discovery platform should facilitate the identification of additional enzyme inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Computer Simulation , Drug Discovery , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Vero Cells
13.
Cell Host Microbe ; 29(4): 551-563.e5, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101147

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is characterized by a burst in the upper respiratory portal for high transmissibility. To determine human neutralizing antibodies (HuNAbs) for entry protection, we tested three potent HuNAbs (IC50 range, 0.0007-0.35 µg/mL) against live SARS-CoV-2 infection in the golden Syrian hamster model. These HuNAbs inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection by competing with human angiotensin converting enzyme-2 for binding to the viral receptor binding domain (RBD). Prophylactic intraperitoneal or intranasal injection of individual HuNAb or DNA vaccination significantly reduces infection in the lungs but not in the nasal turbinates of hamsters intranasally challenged with SARS-CoV-2. Although postchallenge HuNAb therapy suppresses viral loads and lung damage, robust infection is observed in nasal turbinates treated within 1-3 days. Our findings demonstrate that systemic HuNAb suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication and injury in lungs; however, robust viral infection in nasal turbinate may outcompete the antibody with significant implications to subprotection, reinfection, and vaccine.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Turbinates/virology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/physiology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Viral Load
14.
Lancet Microbe ; 1(1): e14-e23, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087358

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was reported from China in January, 2020. SARS-CoV-2 is efficiently transmitted from person to person and, in 2 months, has caused more than 82 000 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 2800 deaths in 46 countries. The total number of cases and deaths has surpassed that of the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Although both COVID-19 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) manifest as pneumonia, COVID-19 is associated with apparently more efficient transmission, fewer cases of diarrhoea, increased mental confusion, and a lower crude fatality rate. However, the underlying virus-host interactive characteristics conferring these observations on transmissibility and clinical manifestations of COVID-19 remain unknown. METHODS: We systematically investigated the cellular susceptibility, species tropism, replication kinetics, and cell damage of SARS-CoV-2 and compared findings with those for SARS-CoV. We compared SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV replication in different cell lines with one-way ANOVA. For the area under the curve comparison between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV replication in Calu3 (pulmonary) and Caco2 (intestinal) cells, we used Student's t test. We analysed cell damage induced by SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV with one-way ANOVA. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 infected and replicated to comparable levels in human Caco2 cells and Calu3 cells over a period of 120 h (p=0·52). By contrast, SARS-CoV infected and replicated more efficiently in Caco2 cells than in Calu3 cells under the same multiplicity of infection (p=0·0098). SARS-CoV-2, but not SARS-CoV, replicated modestly in U251 (neuronal) cells (p=0·036). For animal species cell tropism, both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 replicated in non-human primate, cat, rabbit, and pig cells. SARS-CoV, but not SARS-CoV-2, infected and replicated in Rhinolophus sinicus bat kidney cells. SARS-CoV-2 consistently induced significantly delayed and milder levels of cell damage than did SARS-CoV in non-human primate cells (VeroE6, p=0·016; FRhK4, p=0·0004). INTERPRETATION: As far as we know, our study presents the first quantitative data for tropism, replication kinetics, and cell damage of SARS-CoV-2. These data provide novel insights into the lower incidence of diarrhoea, decreased disease severity, and reduced mortality in patients with COVID-19, with respect to the pathogenesis and high transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 compared with SARS-CoV. FUNDING: May Tam Mak Mei Yin, The Shaw Foundation Hong Kong, Richard Yu and Carol Yu, Michael Seak-Kan Tong, Respiratory Viral Research Foundation, Hui Ming, Hui Hoy and Chow Sin Lan Charity Fund, Chan Yin Chuen Memorial Charitable Foundation, Marina Man-Wai Lee, The Hong Kong Hainan Commercial Association South China Microbiology Research Fund, The Jessie & George Ho Charitable Foundation, Perfect Shape Medical, The Consultancy Service for Enhancing Laboratory Surveillance of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Research Capability on Antimicrobial Resistance for the Department of Health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, The Theme-Based Research Scheme of the Research Grants Council, Sanming Project of Medicine in Shenzhen, and The High Level-Hospital Program, Health Commission of Guangdong Province, China.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS Virus , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Diarrhea , Humans , Kinetics , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2 , Swine , Tropism
16.
Nat Microbiol ; 5(11): 1439-1448, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841871

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is causing a pandemic of COVID-19, with high infectivity and significant mortality1. Currently, therapeutic options for COVID-19 are limited. Historically, metal compounds have found use as antimicrobial agents, but their antiviral activities have rarely been explored. Here, we test a set of metallodrugs and related compounds, and identify ranitidine bismuth citrate, a commonly used drug for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection, as a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent, both in vitro and in vivo. Ranitidine bismuth citrate exhibited low cytotoxicity and protected SARS-CoV-2-infected cells with a high selectivity index of 975. Importantly, ranitidine bismuth citrate suppressed SARS-CoV-2 replication, leading to decreased viral loads in both upper and lower respiratory tracts, and relieved virus-associated pneumonia in a golden Syrian hamster model. In vitro studies showed that ranitidine bismuth citrate and its related compounds exhibited inhibition towards both the ATPase (IC50 = 0.69 µM) and DNA-unwinding (IC50 = 0.70 µM) activities of the SARS-CoV-2 helicase via an irreversible displacement of zinc(II) ions from the enzyme by bismuth(III) ions. Our findings highlight viral helicase as a druggable target and the clinical potential of bismuth(III) drugs or other metallodrugs for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Bismuth/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Ranitidine/analogs & derivatives , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Chemokines/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mesocricetus , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , RNA Helicases/metabolism , Ranitidine/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells , Viral Load
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