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1.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294613

ABSTRACT

Introduction SARS-CoV-2 has a complex strategy for the transcription of viral subgenomic mRNAs (sgmRNAs), which are targets for nucleic acid diagnostics. Each of these sgRNAs has a unique 5’ sequence, the leader-transcriptional regulatory sequence gene junction (leader-TRS-junction), that can be identified using sequencing. Results High resolution sequencing has been used to investigate the biology of SARS-CoV-2 and the host response in cell culture models and from clinical samples. LeTRS, a bioinformatics tool, was developed to identify leader-TRS-junctions and be used as a proxy to quantify sgmRNAs for understanding virus biology. This was tested on published datasets and clinical samples from patients and longitudinal samples from animal models with COVID-19. Discussion LeTRS identified known leader-TRS-junctions and identified novel species that were common across different species. The data indicated multi-phasic abundance of sgmRNAs in two different animal models, with spikes in sgmRNA abundance reflected in human samples, and therefore has implications for transmission models and nucleic acid-based diagnostics.

2.
Cell ; 184(20): 5179-5188.e8, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401294

ABSTRACT

We present evidence for multiple independent origins of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 viruses sampled from late 2020 and early 2021 in the United Kingdom. Their genomes carry single-nucleotide polymorphisms and deletions that are characteristic of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern but lack the full complement of lineage-defining mutations. Instead, the remainder of their genomes share contiguous genetic variation with non-B.1.1.7 viruses circulating in the same geographic area at the same time as the recombinants. In four instances, there was evidence for onward transmission of a recombinant-origin virus, including one transmission cluster of 45 sequenced cases over the course of 2 months. The inferred genomic locations of recombination breakpoints suggest that every community-transmitted recombinant virus inherited its spike region from a B.1.1.7 parental virus, consistent with a transmission advantage for B.1.1.7's set of mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Pandemics , Recombination, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Base Sequence/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology/methods , Gene Frequency , Genome, Viral , Genotype , Humans , Mutation , Phylogeny , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
3.
mSphere ; 6(4): e0021921, 2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319381

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic infection that emerged in the Middle East in 2012. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include both respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. The virus is mainly present in camel populations with occasional zoonotic spill over into humans. The severity of infection in humans is influenced by numerous factors, and similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), underlying health complications can play a major role. Currently, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are coincident in the Middle East and thus a rapid way of sequencing MERS-CoV to derive genotype information for molecular epidemiology is needed. Additionally, complicating factors in MERS-CoV infections are coinfections that require clinical management. The ability to rapidly characterize these infections would be advantageous. To rapidly sequence MERS-CoV, an amplicon-based approach was developed and coupled to Oxford Nanopore long read length sequencing. This and a metagenomic approach were evaluated with clinical samples from patients with MERS. The data illustrated that whole-genome or near-whole-genome information on MERS-CoV could be rapidly obtained. This approach provided data on both consensus genomes and the presence of minor variants, including deletion mutants. The metagenomic analysis provided information of the background microbiome. The advantage of this approach is that insertions and deletions can be identified, which are the major drivers of genotype change in coronaviruses. IMPORTANCE Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in late 2012 in Saudi Arabia. The virus is a serious threat to people not only in the Middle East but also in the world and has been detected in over 27 countries. MERS-CoV is spreading in the Middle East and neighboring countries, and approximately 35% of reported patients with this virus have died. This is the most severe coronavirus infection so far described. Saudi Arabia is a destination for many millions of people in the world who visit for religious purposes (Umrah and Hajj), and so it is a very vulnerable area, which imposes unique challenges for effective control of this epidemic. The significance of our study is that clinical samples from patients with MERS were used for rapid in-depth sequencing and metagenomic analysis using long read length sequencing.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/virology , Microbiota/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
BMJ ; 372: n771, 2021 03 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1148143
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1260, 2021 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101645

ABSTRACT

A novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has been identified as the causative agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Animal models, and in particular non-human primates, are essential to understand the pathogenesis of emerging diseases and to assess the safety and efficacy of novel vaccines and therapeutics. Here, we show that SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the upper and lower respiratory tract and causes pulmonary lesions in both rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. Immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 are also similar in both species and equivalent to those reported in milder infections and convalescent human patients. This finding is reiterated by our transcriptional analysis of respiratory samples revealing the global response to infection. We describe a new method for lung histopathology scoring that will provide a metric to enable clearer decision making for this key endpoint. In contrast to prior publications, in which rhesus are accepted to be the preferred study species, we provide convincing evidence that both macaque species authentically represent mild to moderate forms of COVID-19 observed in the majority of the human population and both species should be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of interventions against SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, accessing cynomolgus macaques will greatly alleviate the pressures on current rhesus stocks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Animals , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Immunity, Cellular/physiology , Interferon-gamma/metabolism , Macaca fascicularis , Macaca mulatta , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
6.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-905965

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will impair clinical diagnostic tools such as real-time PCR assays. Although single nucleotide polymorphisms and point mutations occur during the replication of coronaviruses, one of the biggest drivers in genetic change is recombination. This can manifest itself in insertions and/or deletions in the viral genome. Therefore, sequencing strategies that underpin molecular epidemiology and inform virus biology in patients should take these factors into account. A long amplicon/read length-based RT-PCR sequencing approach focused on the Oxford Nanopore MinION/GridION platforms was developed to identify and sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in samples from patients with or suspected of COVID-19. The protocol, termed Rapid Sequencing Long Amplicons (RSLAs) used random primers to generate cDNA from RNA purified from a sample from a patient, followed by single or multiplex PCRs to generate longer amplicons of the viral genome. The base protocol was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 in a variety of clinical samples and proved sensitive in identifying viral RNA in samples from patients that had been declared negative using other nucleic acid-based assays (false negative). Sequencing the amplicons revealed that a number of patients had a proportion of viral genomes with deletions.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , DNA, Complementary/analysis , DNA, Complementary/genetics , DNA, Viral/analysis , DNA, Viral/genetics , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Humans , Molecular Epidemiology , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis
7.
Viruses ; 12(10):1164, 2020.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-855539

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will impair clinical diagnostic tools such as real-time PCR assays. Although single nucleotide polymorphisms and point mutations occur during the replication of coronaviruses, one of the biggest drivers in genetic change is recombination. This can manifest itself in insertions and/or deletions in the viral genome. Therefore, sequencing strategies that underpin molecular epidemiology and inform virus biology in patients should take these factors into account. A long amplicon/read length-based RT-PCR sequencing approach focused on the Oxford Nanopore MinION/GridION platforms was developed to identify and sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in samples from patients with or suspected of COVID-19. The protocol, termed Rapid Sequencing Long Amplicons (RSLAs) used random primers to generate cDNA from RNA purified from a sample from a patient, followed by single or multiplex PCRs to generate longer amplicons of the viral genome. The base protocol was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 in a variety of clinical samples and proved sensitive in identifying viral RNA in samples from patients that had been declared negative using other nucleic acid-based assays (false negative). Sequencing the amplicons revealed that a number of patients had a proportion of viral genomes with deletions.

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