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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1707710

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Multiple SARS-CoV-2 superspreading events suggest that aerosols play an important role in driving the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand how airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs, we sought to determine viral loads within coarse (>5µm) and fine (≤5µm) respiratory aerosols produced when breathing, talking, and singing. METHODS: Using a G-II exhaled breath collector, we measured viral RNA in coarse and fine respiratory aerosols emitted by COVID-19 patients during 30 minutes of breathing, 15 minutes of talking, and 15 minutes of singing. RESULTS: Thirteen participants (59%) emitted detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in respiratory aerosols, including 3 asymptomatic and 1 presymptomatic patient. Viral loads ranged from 63-5,821 N gene copies per expiratory activity per participant, with high person-to-person variation. Patients earlier in illness were more likely to emit detectable RNA. Two participants, sampled on day 3 of illness, accounted for 52% of the total viral load. Overall, 94% of SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies were emitted by talking and singing. Interestingly, 7 participants emitted more virus from talking than singing. Overall, fine aerosols constituted 85% of the viral load detected in our study. Virus cultures were negative. CONCLUSIONS: Fine aerosols produced by talking and singing contain more SARS-CoV-2 copies than coarse aerosols and may play a significant role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Exposure to fine aerosols, especially indoors, should be mitigated. Isolating viable SARS-CoV-2 from respiratory aerosol samples remains challenging, and whether this can be more easily accomplished for emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants is an urgent enquiry necessitating larger-scale studies.

3.
Rev Med Virol ; : e2300, 2021 Sep 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1427204

ABSTRACT

The family of Suppressor of Cytokine Signalling (SOCS) proteins plays pivotal roles in cytokine and immune regulation. Despite their key roles, little attention has been given to the SOCS family as compared to other feedback regulators. To date, SOCS proteins have been found to be exploited by viruses such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), Zika virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Ebola virus, influenza A virus (IAV) and SARS-CoV, just to name a few. The hijacking and subsequent upregulation of the SOCS proteins upon viral infection, suppress the associated JAK-STAT signalling activities, thereby reducing the host antiviral response and promoting viral replication. Two SOCS protein family members, SOCS1 and SOCS3 are well-studied and their roles in the JAK-STAT signalling pathway are defined as attenuating interferon (IFN) signalling upon viral infection. The upregulation of SOCS protein by SARS-CoV during the early stages of infection implies strong similarity with SARS-CoV-2, given their closely related genomic organisation. Thus, this review aims to outline the plausibility of SOCS protein inhibitors as a potential therapeutic regimen for COVID-19 patients. We also discuss the antagonists against SOCS protein to offer an overview on the previous 'successes' of SOCS protein inhibition in various viral infections that may portray possible clues for COVID-19 disease management.

4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345720

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Multiple SARS-CoV-2 superspreading events suggest that aerosols play an important role in driving the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand how airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs, we sought to determine viral loads within coarse (>5µm) and fine (≤5µm) respiratory aerosols produced when breathing, talking, and singing. METHODS: Using a G-II exhaled breath collector, we measured viral RNA in coarse and fine respiratory aerosols emitted by COVID-19 patients during 30 minutes of breathing, 15 minutes of talking, and 15 minutes of singing. RESULTS: Thirteen participants (59%) emitted detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in respiratory aerosols, including 3 asymptomatic and 1 presymptomatic patient. Viral loads ranged from 63-5,821 N gene copies per expiratory activity per participant, with high person-to-person variation. Patients earlier in illness were more likely to emit detectable RNA. Two participants, sampled on day 3 of illness, accounted for 52% of the total viral load. Overall, 94% of SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies were emitted by talking and singing. Interestingly, 7 participants emitted more virus from talking than singing. Overall, fine aerosols constituted 85% of the viral load detected in our study. Virus cultures were negative. CONCLUSIONS: Fine aerosols produced by talking and singing contain more SARS-CoV-2 copies than coarse aerosols and may play a significant role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Exposure to fine aerosols, especially indoors, should be mitigated. Isolating viable SARS-CoV-2 from respiratory aerosol samples remains challenging, and whether this can be more easily accomplished for emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants is an urgent enquiry necessitating larger-scale studies.

5.
JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg ; 147(5): 418-425, 2021 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086243

ABSTRACT

Importance: Three-dimensionally printed nasopharyngeal swabs (3DP swabs) have been used to mitigate swab shortages during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Clinical validation for diagnostic accuracy and consistency, as well as patient acceptability, is crucial to evaluate the swab's performance. Objective: To determine the accuracy and acceptability of the 3DP swab for identifying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Design, Setting, and Participants: A diagnostic study was conducted from May to July 2020 at 2 tertiary care centers in Singapore with different reference swabs (FLOQSwab [COPAN Diagnostics] or Dacron swab [Deltalab]) and swab processing techniques (wet or dry) to evaluate the performance of the 3DP swab compared with traditional, standard-of-care nasopharyngeal swabs used in health care institutions. The participants were patients with COVID-19 in the first 2 weeks of illness and controls with acute respiratory illness with negative test results for SARS-CoV-2. Paired nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the same nostril and tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The sequence of swabs was randomized based on odd and even participant numbers. Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcome measures were overall agreement (OA), positive percentage agreement (PPA), and negative percentage agreement of the 3DP swab compared with reference swabs. Secondary outcome measures were the correlation of cycle threshold (Ct) values of both swabs. Results: The mean (SD) age of participants was 45.4 (13.1) years, and most participants were men (87 of 89 [97.8%]), in keeping with the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. A total of 79 patients with COVID-19 and 10 controls were recruited. Among the patients with COVID-19, the overall agreement and PPA of the 3DP swab was 91.1% and 93.5%, respectively, compared with reference swabs. The PPA was 100% for patients with COVID-19 who were tested within the first week of illness. All controls tested negative. The reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction Ct values for the ORF1ab and E-gene targets showed a strong correlation (intraclass correlations coefficient, 0.869-0.920) between the 3DP and reference swab on independent testing at each institution despite differences in sample processing. Discordant results for both gene targets were observed only at high Ct values. Conclusions and Relevance: In this diagnostic study of 79 patients with COVID-19 and 10 controls, the 3DP swab performed accurately and consistently across health care institutions and could help mitigate strained resources in the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/instrumentation , COVID-19/diagnosis , Nasopharynx/virology , Printing, Three-Dimensional , Adult , Equipment Design , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Infect Dis Ther ; 10(2): 1015-1022, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1023371

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The gold standard for COVID-19 diagnosis is currently a real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect SARS-CoV-2. This is most commonly performed on respiratory secretions obtained via a nasopharyngeal swab. Due to supply chain limitations and high demand worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to commercial nasopharyngeal swabs has not been assured. 3D printing methods have been used to meet the shortfall. For longer-term considerations, 3D printing may not compare well with injection molding as a production method due to the challenging scalability and greater production costs of 3D printing. METHODS: To secure sufficient nasopharyngeal swab availability for our national healthcare system, we designed a novel injection molded nasopharyngeal swab (the IM2 swab). We performed a clinical diagnostic study comparing the IM2 swab to the Copan FLOQSwab. Forty patients with a known diagnosis of COVID-19 and 10 healthy controls were recruited. Paired nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the same nostril of each participant and tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. RESULTS: When compared to the Copan FLOQswab, results from the IM2 swab displayed excellent overall agreement and positive percent agreement of 96.0% and 94.9%, respectively. There was no significant difference in mean RT-PCR cycle threshold values for the ORF1ab (28.05 vs. 28.03, p = 0.97) and E-gene (29.72 vs. 29.37, p = 0.64) targets, respectively. We did not observe any significant adverse events and there was no significant difference in patient-reported pain. CONCLUSION: In summary, the IM2 nasopharyngeal swab is a clinically safe, highly accurate option to commercial nasopharyngeal swabs.

7.
Front Pharmacol ; 11: 870, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-615558

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need for new therapeutic strategies to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to curtail its most severe complications. Severely ill patients experience pathologic manifestations of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and clinical reports demonstrate striking neutrophilia, elevated levels of multiple cytokines, and an exaggerated inflammatory response in fatal COVID-19. Mechanical respirator devices are the most widely applied therapy for ARDS in COVID-19, yet mechanical ventilation achieves strikingly poor survival. Many patients, who recover, experience impaired cognition or physical disability. In this review, we argue the need to develop therapies aimed at inhibiting neutrophil recruitment, activation, degranulation, and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) release. Moreover, we suggest that currently available pharmacologic approaches should be tested as treatments for ARDS in COVID-19. In our view, targeting host-mediated immunopathology holds promise to alleviate progressive pathologic complications of ARDS and reduce morbidities and mortalities in severely ill patients with COVID-19.

8.
RNA Viruses ; : 295-320, 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-360886

ABSTRACT

Abstract The newly emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) exhibits unique characteristics with respect to its molecular biology, replication, transcription and assembly. Several cell types including Vero E6 cells are permissive for SARS-CoV replication with resultant cytopathic effects. Microarray analyses have elucidated the cellular expression patterns of human genes in response to SARS-CoV infection. These studies have revealed alterations in the transcription and translation of genes belonging to various functional groups including cell cycle, apoptosis, signal transduction, transcriptional regulation, host translation, protein modulators, protein trafficking, cytoskeletal network, cellular metabolism, and antiviral resistance. There is significant induction of heat shock proteins that are crucial to the immune response mechanism. Specific immune-related genes are upregulated, coinciding with the high cytokine profiles in SARS patients which incite proinflammatory responses. Modified levels of transcripts mediating proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes illustrate the balance between opposing forces during SARS pathogenesis. Another interesting phenomenon is the differential expression of genes that support both anti-apoptotic and proapoptotic processes. Thus, anti-apoptotic mechanisms facilitate the initial viral multiplication, whereas at later infection phase, apoptosis results in cell lysis to release viral progeny. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses provide new insights into the host-pathogen interactions and pathophysiology of SARS-CoV infection. These critical interactions involve an elaborate interplay between various mechanisms to favor virus propagation before frank apoptosis and the triggering of specific pathways in host cells that attempt to eliminate the pathogen.

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