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1.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294504

ABSTRACT

Background SARS-CoV-2 human-to-animal transmission can lead to the establishment of novel reservoirs and the evolution of new variants with the potential to start new outbreaks in humans. Aim We tested Norway rats inhabiting the sewer system of Antwerp, Belgium, for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 following a local COVID-19 epidemic peak. In addition, we discuss the use and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 serological tests on non-human samples. Methods Between November and December 2020, Norway rat oral swabs, feces and tissues from the sewer system of Antwerp were collected to be tested by RT-qPCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Serum samples were screened for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies using a Luminex microsphere immunoassay (MIA). Samples considered positive were then checked for neutralizing antibodies using a conventional viral neutralization test (cVNT). Results The serum of 35 rats was tested by MIA showing 3 potentially positive sera that were later shown to be negative by cVNT. All tissue samples of 39 rats analyzed tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Conclusion This is the first study that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 infection in urban rats. We can conclude that the sample of 39 rats had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2. We show that diagnostic serology tests can give misleading results when applied on non-human samples. SARS-CoV-2 monitoring activities should continue due to the emergence of new variants prone to infect Muridae rodents.

2.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19373, 2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442809

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 primarily affecting the respiratory system which can damage vessels walls virtually in any body district. Changes affecting retinal vessels are a good marker for systemic vascular alterations. This study investigated retinal vessels during the acute phase of COVID-19 and after patients recovery. Fifty-nine eyes from 32 COVID-19 patients and 80 eyes from 53 unexposed subjects were included. Mean arteries diameter (MAD) and mean veins diameter (MVD) were assessed through semi-automatic analysis on fundus color photos at baseline and 6 months later in patients and subjects unexposed to the virus. At baseline MAD and MVD were significantly higher in COVID-19 patients compared to unexposed subjects (p < 0.0001). Both MAD and MVD significantly decreased in COVID-19 patients at follow-up (from 97.5 ± 10.9 to 92.2 ± 11.4 µm, p < 0.0001 and from 133.1 ± 19.3 to 124.6 ± 16.1 µm, p < 0.0001, respectively). Despite this reduction vessels diameter remained significantly higher in severe COVID-19 patients compared to unexposed subjects. Transient retinal vessels dilation could serve a biomarker for systemic inflammation while long-lasting alterations seen in severe COVID-19 likely reflect irreversible structural damage to the vessels walls and should be further investigated for their possible effects on tissues perfusion and function.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Retinal Vessels/pathology , Adult , Aged , Female , Fluorescein Angiography , Fundus Oculi , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retina/diagnostic imaging , Retina/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
3.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 2021 Jul 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295139

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 human-to-animal transmission can lead to the establishment of novel reservoirs and the evolution of new variants with the potential to start new outbreaks in humans. We tested Norway rats inhabiting the sewer system of Antwerp, Belgium, for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 following a local COVID-19 epidemic peak. In addition, we discuss the use and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 serological tests on non-human samples. Between November and December 2020, Norway rat oral swabs, faeces and tissues from the sewer system of Antwerp were collected to be tested by RT-qPCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Serum samples were screened for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies using a Luminex microsphere immunoassay (MIA). Samples considered positive were then checked for neutralizing antibodies using a conventional viral neutralization test (cVNT). The serum of 35 rats was tested by MIA showing three potentially positive sera that were later negative by cVNT. All tissue samples of 39 rats analysed tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. This is the first study that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 infection in urban rats. We can conclude that the sample of rats analysed had never been infected with SARS-CoV-2. However, monitoring activities should continue due to the emergence of new variants prone to infect Muridae rodents.

4.
EClinicalMedicine ; 27: 100550, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-778782

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been associated to microvascular alterations. We screened the fundus of patients with COVID-19 to detect alterations of the retina and its vasculature and to assess possible correlations with clinical parameters. METHODS: Cross-sectional study. The presence of retinal alterations in patients with COVID-19 and subjects unexposed to the virus was assessed using fundus photographs and their prevalence was compared. Mean arteries diameter (MAD) and mean veins diameter (MVD) were compared between patients and unexposed subjects with multiple linear regression including age, sex, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking/alcohol consumption, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes as covariates. The influence of clinical/lab parameters on retinal findings was tested in COVID-19 patients. FINDINGS: 54 patients and 133 unexposed subjects were enrolled. Retinal findings in COVID-19 included: haemorrhages (9·25%), cotton wools spots (7·4%), dilated veins (27·7%), tortuous vessels (12·9%). Both MAD and MVD were higher in COVID-19 patients compared to unexposed subjects (98·3 ± 15·3 µm vs 91·9 ± 11·7 µm, p = 0.006 and 138·5 ± 21·5 µm vs 123·2 ± 13·0 µm, p<0.0001, respectively). In multiple regression accounting for covariates MVD was positively associated with COVID-19 both in severe (coefficient 30·3, CI95% 18·1-42·4) and non-severe (coefficient 10·3, CI95% 1·6-19·0) cases compared to unexposed subjects. In COVID-19 patients MVD was negatively correlated with the time from symptoms onset (coefficient -1·0, CI 95% -1·89 to -0·20) and positively correlated with disease severity (coefficient 22·0, CI 95% 5·2-38·9). INTERPRETATION: COVID-19 can affect the retina. Retinal veins diameter seems directly correlated with the disease severity. Its assessment could have possible applications in the management of COVID-19. FUNDING: None.

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