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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 11735, 2022 Jul 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947493

ABSTRACT

Whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has occurred at an unprecedented scale, and can be exploited for characterising outbreak risks at the fine-scale needed to inform control strategies. One setting at continued risk of COVID-19 outbreaks are higher education institutions, associated with student movements at the start of term, close living conditions within residential halls, and high social contact rates. Here we analysed SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences in combination with epidemiological data to investigate a large cluster of student cases associated with University of Glasgow accommodation in autumn 2020, Scotland. We identified 519 student cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with this large cluster through contact tracing data, with 30% sequencing coverage for further analysis. We estimated at least 11 independent introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into the student population, with four comprising the majority of detected cases and consistent with separate outbreaks. These four outbreaks were curtailed within a week following implementation of control measures. The impact of student infections on the local community was short-term despite an underlying increase in community infections. Our study highlights the need for context-specific information in the formation of public health policy for higher educational settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Genomics , Health Planning , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States , Universities
2.
Nat Microbiol ; 2022 Jul 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921616

ABSTRACT

Vaccines based on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 are a cornerstone of the public health response to COVID-19. The emergence of hypermutated, increasingly transmissible variants of concern (VOCs) threaten this strategy. Omicron (B.1.1.529), the fifth VOC to be described, harbours multiple amino acid mutations in spike, half of which lie within the receptor-binding domain. Here we demonstrate substantial evasion of neutralization by Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants in vitro using sera from individuals vaccinated with ChAdOx1, BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273. These data were mirrored by a substantial reduction in real-world vaccine effectiveness that was partially restored by booster vaccination. The Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.2 did not induce cell syncytia in vitro and favoured a TMPRSS2-independent endosomal entry pathway, these phenotypes mapping to distinct regions of the spike protein. Impaired cell fusion was determined by the receptor-binding domain, while endosomal entry mapped to the S2 domain. Such marked changes in antigenicity and replicative biology may underlie the rapid global spread and altered pathogenicity of the Omicron variant.

3.
PLoS Biol ; 19(12): e3001065, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594053

ABSTRACT

The pandemic spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), represents an ongoing international health crisis. A key symptom of SARS-CoV-2 infection is the onset of fever, with a hyperthermic temperature range of 38 to 41°C. Fever is an evolutionarily conserved host response to microbial infection that can influence the outcome of viral pathogenicity and regulation of host innate and adaptive immune responses. However, it remains to be determined what effect elevated temperature has on SARS-CoV-2 replication. Utilizing a three-dimensional (3D) air-liquid interface (ALI) model that closely mimics the natural tissue physiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the respiratory airway, we identify tissue temperature to play an important role in the regulation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Respiratory tissue incubated at 40°C remained permissive to SARS-CoV-2 entry but refractory to viral transcription, leading to significantly reduced levels of viral RNA replication and apical shedding of infectious virus. We identify tissue temperature to play an important role in the differential regulation of epithelial host responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection that impact upon multiple pathways, including intracellular immune regulation, without disruption to general transcription or epithelium integrity. We present the first evidence that febrile temperatures associated with COVID-19 inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in respiratory epithelia. Our data identify an important role for tissue temperature in the epithelial restriction of SARS-CoV-2 independently of canonical interferon (IFN)-mediated antiviral immune defenses.


Subject(s)
Epithelial Cells/immunology , Hot Temperature , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Adolescent , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferons/genetics , Interferons/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Biological , RNA-Seq/methods , Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Tissue Culture Techniques , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology
4.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(9): e1009929, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430555

ABSTRACT

Remdesivir (RDV), a broadly acting nucleoside analogue, is the only FDA approved small molecule antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. To date, there are no reports identifying SARS-CoV-2 RDV resistance in patients, animal models or in vitro. Here, we selected drug-resistant viral populations by serially passaging SARS-CoV-2 in vitro in the presence of RDV. Using high throughput sequencing, we identified a single mutation in RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (NSP12) at a residue conserved among all coronaviruses in two independently evolved populations displaying decreased RDV sensitivity. Introduction of the NSP12 E802D mutation into our SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics backbone confirmed its role in decreasing RDV sensitivity in vitro. Substitution of E802 did not affect viral replication or activity of an alternate nucleoside analogue (EIDD2801) but did affect virus fitness in a competition assay. Analysis of the globally circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants (>800,000 sequences) showed no evidence of widespread transmission of RDV-resistant mutants. Surprisingly, we observed an excess of substitutions in spike at corresponding sites identified in the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (i.e., H69, E484, N501, H655) indicating that they can arise in vitro in the absence of immune selection. The identification and characterisation of a drug resistant signature within the SARS-CoV-2 genome has implications for clinical management and virus surveillance.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Drug Resistance, Microbial/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Biological Evolution , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
5.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430193

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 has been associated with an increased rate of transmission and disease severity among subjects testing positive in the community. Its impact on hospitalised patients is less well documented. METHODS: We collected viral sequences and clinical data of patients admitted with SARS-CoV-2 and hospital-onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs), sampled 16 November 2020 to 10 January 2021, from eight hospitals participating in the COG-UK-HOCI study. Associations between the variant and the outcomes of all-cause mortality and intensive therapy unit (ITU) admission were evaluated using mixed effects Cox models adjusted by age, sex, comorbidities, care home residence, pregnancy and ethnicity. FINDINGS: Sequences were obtained from 2341 inpatients (HOCI cases=786) and analysis of clinical outcomes was carried out in 2147 inpatients with all data available. The HR for mortality of B.1.1.7 compared with other lineages was 1.01 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.28, p=0.94) and for ITU admission was 1.01 (95% CI 0.75 to 1.37, p=0.96). Analysis of sex-specific effects of B.1.1.7 identified increased risk of mortality (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.78, p=0.096) and ITU admission (HR 1.82, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.90, p=0.011) in females infected with the variant but not males (mortality HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.10, p=0.177; ITU HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.04, p=0.086). INTERPRETATION: In common with smaller studies of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2, we did not find an overall increase in mortality or ITU admission associated with B.1.1.7 compared with other lineages. However, women with B.1.1.7 may be at an increased risk of admission to intensive care and at modestly increased risk of mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , United Kingdom , Young Adult
8.
Vet Rec ; 188(8): e247, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198417

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to find evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK cats. DESIGN: Tissue samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antigen using immunofluorescence and for viral RNA by in situ hybridisation. A set of 387 oropharyngeal swabs that had been submitted for routine respiratory pathogen testing was tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA using reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR. RESULTS: Lung tissue collected post-mortem from cat 1 tested positive for both SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen and RNA. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in an oropharyngeal swab collected from cat 2 that presented with rhinitis and conjunctivitis. High throughput sequencing of the viral genome revealed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) compared to the nearest UK human SARS-CoV-2 sequence, and this human virus contained eight SNPs compared to the original Wuhan-Hu-1 reference sequence. An analysis of the viral genome of cat 2 together with nine other feline-derived SARS-CoV-2 sequences from around the world revealed no shared cat-specific mutations. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that human-to-cat transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK, with the infected cats developing mild or severe respiratory disease. Given the ability of the new coronavirus to infect different species, it will be important to monitor for human-to-cat, cat-to-cat and cat-to-human transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Cat Diseases/virology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Zoonoses , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Cats , Female , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United Kingdom/epidemiology
9.
Science ; 372(6539)2021 04 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125076

ABSTRACT

Extensive global sampling and sequencing of the pandemic virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have enabled researchers to monitor its spread and to identify concerning new variants. Two important determinants of variant spread are how frequently they arise within individuals and how likely they are to be transmitted. To characterize within-host diversity and transmission, we deep-sequenced 1313 clinical samples from the United Kingdom. SARS-CoV-2 infections are characterized by low levels of within-host diversity when viral loads are high and by a narrow bottleneck at transmission. Most variants are either lost or occasionally fixed at the point of transmission, with minimal persistence of shared diversity, patterns that are readily observable on the phylogenetic tree. Our results suggest that transmission-enhancing and/or immune-escape SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to arise infrequently but could spread rapidly if successfully transmitted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Genetic Variation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Coinfection/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus OC43, Human , Family Characteristics , Genome, Viral , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Selection, Genetic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , United Kingdom , Viral Load
10.
PLoS Biol ; 19(2): e3001091, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1102372

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the underlying cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has led to a worldwide pandemic causing substantial morbidity, mortality, and economic devastation. In response, many laboratories have redirected attention to SARS-CoV-2, meaning there is an urgent need for tools that can be used in laboratories unaccustomed to working with coronaviruses. Here we report a range of tools for SARS-CoV-2 research. First, we describe a facile single plasmid SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics system that is simple to genetically manipulate and can be used to rescue infectious virus through transient transfection (without in vitro transcription or additional expression plasmids). The rescue system is accompanied by our panel of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (against nearly every viral protein), SARS-CoV-2 clinical isolates, and SARS-CoV-2 permissive cell lines, which are all openly available to the scientific community. Using these tools, we demonstrate here that the controversial ORF10 protein is expressed in infected cells. Furthermore, we show that the promising repurposed antiviral activity of apilimod is dependent on TMPRSS2 expression. Altogether, our SARS-CoV-2 toolkit, which can be directly accessed via our website at https://mrcppu-covid.bio/, constitutes a resource with considerable potential to advance COVID-19 vaccine design, drug testing, and discovery science.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Reverse Genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Codon , Humans , Hydrazones/pharmacology , Mice , Morpholines/pharmacology , Open Reading Frames , Plasmids/genetics , Pyrimidines/pharmacology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism
11.
Cell ; 184(1): 64-75.e11, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064909

ABSTRACT

Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect. We investigate the hypothesis for positive selection of spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Despite the availability of a large dataset, well represented by both spike 614 variants, not all approaches showed a conclusive signal of positive selection. Population genetic analysis indicates that 614G increases in frequency relative to 614D in a manner consistent with a selective advantage. We do not find any indication that patients infected with the spike 614G variant have higher COVID-19 mortality or clinical severity, but 614G is associated with higher viral load and younger age of patients. Significant differences in growth and size of 614G phylogenetic clusters indicate a need for continued study of this variant.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Aspartic Acid/analysis , Aspartic Acid/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Glycine/analysis , Glycine/genetics , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Virulence , Whole Genome Sequencing
13.
Cell ; 184(5): 1171-1187.e20, 2021 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can mutate and evade immunity, with consequences for efficacy of emerging vaccines and antibody therapeutics. Here, we demonstrate that the immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) receptor binding motif (RBM) is a highly variable region of S and provide epidemiological, clinical, and molecular characterization of a prevalent, sentinel RBM mutation, N439K. We demonstrate N439K S protein has enhanced binding affinity to the hACE2 receptor, and N439K viruses have similar in vitro replication fitness and cause infections with similar clinical outcomes as compared to wild type. We show the N439K mutation confers resistance against several neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, including one authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and reduces the activity of some polyclonal sera from persons recovered from infection. Immune evasion mutations that maintain virulence and fitness such as N439K can emerge within SARS-CoV-2 S, highlighting the need for ongoing molecular surveillance to guide development and usage of vaccines and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Genetic Fitness , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virulence
15.
Nat Microbiol ; 6(1): 112-122, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-989837

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first diagnosed in Scotland on 1 March 2020. During the first month of the outbreak, 2,641 cases of COVID-19 led to 1,832 hospital admissions, 207 intensive care admissions and 126 deaths. We aimed to identify the source and number of introductions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into Scotland using a combined phylogenetic and epidemiological approach. Sequencing of 1,314 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from available patient samples enabled us to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to Scotland on at least 283 occasions during February and March 2020. Epidemiological analysis confirmed that early introductions of SARS-CoV-2 originated from mainland Europe (the majority from Italy and Spain). We identified subsequent early outbreaks in the community, within healthcare facilities and at an international conference. Community transmission occurred after 2 March, 3 weeks before control measures were introduced. Earlier travel restrictions or quarantine measures, both locally and internationally, would have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in Scotland. The risk of multiple reintroduction events in future waves of infection remains high in the absence of population immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Europe/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spain/epidemiology , Travel/statistics & numerical data
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