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1.
J Clin Microbiol ; : e0126122, 2022 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2137404

ABSTRACT

The molecular detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is key for clinical management and surveillance. Funded by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, we conducted an external quality assessment (EQA) on the molecular detection and variant typing of SARS-CoV-2 that included 59 European laboratories in 34 countries. The EQA panel consisted of 12 lyophilized inactivated samples, 10 of which were SARS-CoV-2 variants (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Eta, parental B.1 strain) ranging from 2.5 to 290.0 copies/µL or pooled respiratory viruses (adenovirus, enterovirus, influenza virus A, respiratory syncytial virus, or human coronaviruses 229E and OC43). Of all participants, 72.9% identified the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA correctly. In samples containing 25.0 or more genome copies/µL, SARS-CoV-2 was detected by 98.3% of the participating laboratories. Laboratories applying commercial tests scored significantly better (P < 0.0001, Kruskal-Wallis test) than those using in-house assays. Both the molecular detection and the typing of the SARS-CoV-2 variants were associated with the RNA concentrations (P < 0.0001, Kruskal-Wallis test). On average, only 5 out of the 10 samples containing different SARS-CoV-2 variants at different concentrations were correctly typed. The identification of SARS-CoV-2 variants was significantly more successful among EQA participants who combined real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based assays for mutation detection and high-throughput genomic sequencing than among those who used a single methodological approach (P = 0.0345, Kruskal-Wallis test). Our data highlight the high sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 detection in expert laboratories as well as the importance of continuous assay development and the benefits of combining different methodologies for accurate SARS-CoV-2 variant typing.

3.
PLoS One ; 17(11): e0277699, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119398

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Superspreading events are important drivers of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and long-range (LR) transmission is believed to play a major role. We investigated two choir outbreaks with different attack rates (AR) to analyze the contribution of LR transmission and highlight important measures for prevention. METHODS: We conducted two retrospective cohort studies and obtained demographic, clinical, laboratory and contact data, performed SARS-CoV-2 serology, whole genome sequencing (WGS), calculated LR transmission probabilities, measured particle emissions of selected choir members, and calculated particle air concentrations and inhalation doses. RESULTS: We included 65 (84%) and 42 (100%) members of choirs 1 and 2, respectively, of whom 58 (89%) and 10 (24%) became cases. WGS confirmed strain identity in both choirs. Both primary cases transmitted presymptomatically. Particle emission rate when singing was 7 times higher compared to talking. In choir 1, the median concentration of primary cases' emitted particles in the room was estimated to be 8 times higher, exposure at least 30 minutes longer and room volume smaller than in choir 2, resulting in markedly different estimated probabilities for LR transmission (mode: 90% vs. 16%, 95% CI: 80-95% vs. 6-36%). According to a risk model, the first transmission in choir 1 occurred likely after 8 minutes of singing. CONCLUSIONS: The attack rate of the two choirs differed significantly reflecting the differences in LR transmission risks. The pooled proportion of cases due to LR transmission was substantial (81%; 55/68 cases) and was facilitated by likely highly infectious primary cases, high particle emission rates, and indoor rehearsing for an extended time. Even in large rooms, singing of an infectious person may lead to secondary infections through LR exposure within minutes. In the context of indoor gatherings without mask-wearing and waning or insufficient immunity, these results highlight the ongoing importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions wherever aerosols can accumulate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Berlin , Retrospective Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Germany/epidemiology
4.
PLoS Biol ; 20(11): e3001871, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119367

ABSTRACT

Epidemiological data demonstrate that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) Alpha and Delta are more transmissible, infectious, and pathogenic than previous variants. Phenotypic properties of VOC remain understudied. Here, we provide an extensive functional study of VOC Alpha replication and cell entry phenotypes assisted by reverse genetics, mutational mapping of spike in lentiviral pseudotypes, viral and cellular gene expression studies, and infectivity stability assays in an enhanced range of cell and epithelial culture models. In almost all models, VOC Alpha spread less or equally efficiently as ancestral (B.1) SARS-CoV-2. B.1. and VOC Alpha shared similar susceptibility to serum neutralization. Despite increased relative abundance of specific sgRNAs in the context of VOC Alpha infection, immune gene expression in infected cells did not differ between VOC Alpha and B.1. However, inferior spreading and entry efficiencies of VOC Alpha corresponded to lower abundance of proteolytically cleaved spike products presumably linked to the T716I mutation. In addition, we identified a bronchial cell line, NCI-H1299, which supported 24-fold increased growth of VOC Alpha and is to our knowledge the only cell line to recapitulate the fitness advantage of VOC Alpha compared to B.1. Interestingly, also VOC Delta showed a strong (595-fold) fitness advantage over B.1 in these cells. Comparative analysis of chimeric viruses expressing VOC Alpha spike in the backbone of B.1, and vice versa, showed that the specific replication phenotype of VOC Alpha in NCI-H1299 cells is largely determined by its spike protein. Despite undetectable ACE2 protein expression in NCI-H1299 cells, CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out and antibody-mediated blocking experiments revealed that multicycle spread of B.1 and VOC Alpha required ACE2 expression. Interestingly, entry of VOC Alpha, as opposed to B.1 virions, was largely unaffected by treatment with exogenous trypsin or saliva prior to infection, suggesting enhanced resistance of VOC Alpha spike to premature proteolytic cleavage in the extracellular environment of the human respiratory tract. This property may result in delayed degradation of VOC Alpha particle infectivity in conditions typical of mucosal fluids of the upper respiratory tract that may be recapitulated in NCI-H1299 cells closer than in highly ACE2-expressing cell lines and models. Our study highlights the importance of cell model evaluation and comparison for in-depth characterization of virus variant-specific phenotypes and uncovers a fine-tuned interrelationship between VOC Alpha- and host cell-specific determinants that may underlie the increased and prolonged virus shedding detected in patients infected with VOC Alpha.

5.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(9): e2233454, 2022 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2047372

ABSTRACT

Importance: During the COVID-19 pandemic, a reduction in quality of life and physical and mental health among children and adolescents has been reported that may be associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or containment measures. Objective: To assess the association of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity with symptoms that may be related to myalgic encephalomyelitis and/or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) among children and adolescents. Design, Setting, and Participants: This substudy of the cross-sectional SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence surveys in Germany (SARS-CoV-2 KIDS) was performed in 9 pediatric hospitals from May 1 to October 31, 2021. Pediatric patients were recruited during an inpatient or outpatient visit regardless of the purpose of the visit. Parental questionnaires and serum samples were collected during clinically indicated blood draws. The parental questionnaire on demographic and clinical information was extended by items according to the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire, a pediatric screening tool for ME/CFS in epidemiological studies in patients aged 5 to 17 years. Exposures: Seropositivity was determined by SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in serum samples using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Main Outcomes and Measures: Key symptoms of ME/CFS were evaluated separately or as clustered ME/CFS symptoms according to the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire, including fatigue. Results: Among 634 participants (294 male [46.4%] and 340 female [53.6%]; median age, 11.5 [IQR, 8-14] years), 198 (31.2%) reported clustered ME/CFS symptoms, including 40 of 100 SARS-CoV-2-seropositive (40.0%) and 158 of 534 SARS-CoV-2-seronegative (29.6%) children and adolescents. After adjustment for sex, age group, and preexisting disease, the risk ratio for reporting clustered ME/CFS symptoms decreased from 1.35 (95% CI, 1.03-1.78) to 1.18 (95% CI, 0.90-1.53) and for substantial fatigue from 2.45 (95% CI, 1.24-4.84) to 2.08 (95% CI, 1.05-4.13). Confinement to children and adolescents with unknown previous SARS-CoV-2 infection status (n = 610) yielded lower adjusted risks for all symptoms except joint pain ME/CFS-related symptoms. The adjusted risk ratio was 1.08 (95% CI, 0.80-1.46) for reporting clustered ME/CFS symptoms and 1.43 (95% CI, 0.63-3.23) for fatigue. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that the risk of ME/CFS in children and adolescents owing to SARS-CoV-2 infection may be very small. Recall bias may contribute to risk estimates of long COVID-19 symptoms in children. Extensive lockdowns must be considered as an alternative explanation for complex unspecific symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic , Adolescent , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/epidemiology , Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/psychology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Male , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
6.
Mol Syst Biol ; 18(8): e10961, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1994617

ABSTRACT

Cell-intrinsic responses mounted in PBMCs during mild and severe COVID-19 differ quantitatively and qualitatively. Whether they are triggered by signals emitted by productively infected cells of the respiratory tract or result from physical interaction with virus particles remains unclear. Here, we analyzed susceptibility and expression profiles of PBMCs from healthy donors upon ex vivo exposure to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. In line with the absence of detectable ACE2 receptor expression, human PBMCs were refractory to productive infection. RT-PCR experiments and single-cell RNA sequencing revealed JAK/STAT-dependent induction of interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) but not proinflammatory cytokines. This SARS-CoV-2-specific response was most pronounced in monocytes. SARS-CoV-2-RNA-positive monocytes displayed a lower ISG signature as compared to bystander cells of the identical culture. This suggests a preferential invasion of cells with a low ISG baseline profile or delivery of a SARS-CoV-2-specific sensing antagonist upon efficient particle internalization. Together, nonproductive physical interaction of PBMCs with SARS-CoV-2- and, to a much lesser extent, SARS-CoV particles stimulate JAK/STAT-dependent, monocyte-accentuated innate immune responses that resemble those detected in vivo in patients with mild COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS Virus , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Interferons , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(Supplement_1): S110-S120, 2022 Aug 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1992148

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Comprehensive pathogen genomic surveillance represents a powerful tool to complement and advance precision vaccinology. The emergence of the Alpha variant in December 2020 and the resulting efforts to track the spread of this and other severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern led to an expansion of genomic sequencing activities in Germany. METHODS: At Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German National Institute of Public Health, we established the Integrated Molecular Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 (IMS-SC2) network to perform SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance at the national scale, SARS-CoV-2-positive samples from laboratories distributed across Germany regularly undergo whole-genome sequencing at RKI. RESULTS: We report analyses of 3623 SARS-CoV-2 genomes collected between December 2020 and December 2021, of which 3282 were randomly sampled. All variants of concern were identified in the sequenced sample set, at ratios equivalent to those in the 100-fold larger German GISAID sequence dataset from the same time period. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed variant assignments. Multiple mutations of concern emerged during the observation period. To model vaccine effectiveness in vitro, we employed authentic-virus neutralization assays, confirming that both the Beta and Zeta variants are capable of immune evasion. The IMS-SC2 sequence dataset facilitated an estimate of the SARS-CoV-2 incidence based on genetic evolution rates. Together with modeled vaccine efficacies, Delta-specific incidence estimation indicated that the German vaccination campaign contributed substantially to a deceleration of the nascent German Delta wave. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 molecular and genomic surveillance may inform public health policies including vaccination strategies and enable a proactive approach to controlling coronavirus disease 2019 spread as the virus evolves.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccinology
8.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 491, 2022 05 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947506

ABSTRACT

The furin cleavage site (FCS) in SARS-CoV-2 is unique within the Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SrC) species. We re-assessed diverse SrC from European horseshoe bats and analyzed the spike-encoding genomic region harboring the FCS in SARS-CoV-2. We reveal molecular features in SrC such as purine richness and RNA secondary structures that resemble those required for FCS acquisition in avian influenza viruses. We discuss the potential acquisition of FCS through molecular mechanisms such as nucleotide substitution, insertion, or recombination, and show that a single nucleotide exchange in two European bat-associated SrC may suffice to enable furin cleavage. Furthermore, we show that FCS occurrence is variable in bat- and rodent-borne counterparts of human coronaviruses. Our results suggest that furin cleavage sites can be acquired in SrC via conserved molecular mechanisms known in other reservoir-bound RNA viruses and thus support a natural origin of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Chiroptera/genetics , Furin/genetics , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Nucleotides , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
9.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 4182, 2022 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947341

ABSTRACT

Vaccine development is essential for pandemic preparedness. We previously conducted a Phase 1 clinical trial of the vector vaccine candidate MVA-MERS-S against the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), expressing its full spike glycoprotein (MERS-CoV-S), as a homologous two-dose regimen (Days 0 and 28). Here, we evaluate the safety (primary objective) and immunogenicity (secondary and exploratory objectives: magnitude and characterization of vaccine-induced humoral responses) of a third vaccination with MVA-MERS-S in a subgroup of trial participants one year after primary immunization. MVA-MERS-S booster vaccination is safe and well-tolerated. Both binding and neutralizing anti-MERS-CoV antibody titers increase substantially in all participants and exceed maximum titers observed after primary immunization more than 10-fold. We identify four immunogenic IgG epitopes, located in the receptor-binding domain (RBD, n = 1) and the S2 subunit (n = 3) of MERS-CoV-S. The level of baseline anti-human coronavirus antibody titers does not impact the generation of anti-MERS-CoV antibody responses. Our data support the rationale of a booster vaccination with MVA-MERS-S and encourage further investigation in larger trials. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03615911.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Viral Vaccines , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Epitopes , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccination
10.
J Clin Immunol ; 42(6): 1111-1129, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1942304

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Six to 19% of critically ill COVID-19 patients display circulating auto-antibodies against type I interferons (IFN-AABs). Here, we establish a clinically applicable strategy for early identification of IFN-AAB-positive patients for potential subsequent clinical interventions. METHODS: We analyzed sera of 430 COVID-19 patients from four hospitals for presence of IFN-AABs by ELISA. Binding specificity and neutralizing activity were evaluated via competition assay and virus-infection-based neutralization assay. We defined clinical parameters associated with IFN-AAB positivity. In a subgroup of critically ill patients, we analyzed effects of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) on the levels of IFN-AABs, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and clinical outcome. RESULTS: The prevalence of neutralizing AABs to IFN-α and IFN-ω in COVID-19 patients from all cohorts was 4.2% (18/430), while being undetectable in an uninfected control cohort. Neutralizing IFN-AABs were detectable exclusively in critically affected (max. WHO score 6-8), predominantly male (83%) patients (7.6%, 18/237 for IFN-α-AABs and 4.6%, 11/237 for IFN-ω-AABs in 237 patients with critical COVID-19). IFN-AABs were present early post-symptom onset and at the peak of disease. Fever and oxygen requirement at hospital admission co-presented with neutralizing IFN-AAB positivity. IFN-AABs were associated with lower probability of survival (7.7% versus 80.9% in patients without IFN-AABs). TPE reduced levels of IFN-AABs in three of five patients and may increase survival of IFN-AAB-positive patients compared to those not undergoing TPE. CONCLUSION: IFN-AABs may serve as early biomarker for the development of severe COVID-19. We propose to implement routine screening of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for rapid identification of patients with IFN-AABs who most likely benefit from specific therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Autoantibodies , COVID-19/diagnosis , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Interferon-alpha/therapeutic use , Male , Oxygen , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(8): 1708-1712, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1933542

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Mu variant emerged in Colombia in 2021 and spread globally. In 49 serum samples from vaccinees and COVID-19 survivors in Colombia, neutralization was significantly lower (p<0.0001) for Mu than a parental strain and variants of concern. Only the Omicron variant of concern demonstrated higher immune evasion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Humans , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
12.
J Clin Virol ; 154: 105222, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1907272

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antigen testing has become an essential part of fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the continual increase in available tests, independent and extensive comparative evaluations using data from external quality assessment (EQA) studies to evaluate test performance between different users are required. OBJECTIVES: An EQA scheme was established to assess the sensitivity of antigen tests and the potential impact of circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains on their performance. STUDY DESIGN: Panels were prepared for three challenges in 2021 containing inactivated SARS-CoV-2-positive samples of various genetic strains (including variants of concern, VOCs) at different concentrations, and negative samples. Data was analysed based on qualitative testing results in relation to the antigen test used. RESULTS: Participants registered for each individual challenge in any combination. In total, 258 respondents from 27 countries worldwide were counted submitting 472 datasets. All core samples were correctly reported by 76.7 to 83.1% at participant level and by 73.5 to 83.8% at dataset level. Sensitivity differences could be shown in viral loads and SARS-CoV-2 strains/variants including the impact on performance by a B.1.1.7-like mutant strain with a deletion in the nucleoprotein gene. Lateral flow rapid antigen tests showed a higher rate of false negatives in general compared with automated point-of-care tests and laboratory ELISA/immunoassays. CONCLUSIONS: EQA schemes can provide valuable data to inform participants about weaknesses in their testing process or methods and support ongoing assay evaluations for regulatory approval or post-market surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
13.
Eur Respir J ; 2022 Jun 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1902346

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as cellular entry receptor. However, whether SARS-CoV-2 in the alveolar compartment is strictly ACE2-dependent and to what extent virus-induced tissue damage and/or direct immune activation determines early pathogenesis is still elusive. METHODS: Spectral microscopy, single-cell/-nucleus RNA sequencing or ACE2 'gain-of-function' experiments were applied on infected human lung explants and adult stem cell-derived human lung organoids to correlate ACE2 and related host factors with SARS-CoV-2 tropism, propagation, virulence and immune activation compared to SARS-CoV, influenza and MERS-CoV. COVID-19 autopsy material was used to validate ex vivo results. RESULTS: We provide evidence that alveolar ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation and virus-induced tissue damage in the human alveolus. Instead, ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples showed that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2. Single-cell/-nucleus transcriptomics further revealed non-productive virus uptake and a related inflammatory and anti-viral activation, especially in 'inflammatory alveolar macrophages', comparable to those induced by SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV but different from NL63 or influenza virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from a macrophage triggered immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.

14.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3128, 2022 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1878524

ABSTRACT

The rate of SARS-CoV-2 infections in children remains unclear due to many asymptomatic cases. We present a study of cross-sectional seroprevalence surveys of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG in 10,358 children recruited in paediatric hospitals across Germany from June 2020 to May 2021. Seropositivity increased from 2.0% (95% CI 1.6, 2.5) to 10.8% (95% CI 8.7, 12.9) in March 2021 with little change up to May 2021. Rates increased by migrant background (2.8%, 4.4% and 7.8% for no, one and two parents born outside Germany). Children under three were initially 3.6 (95% CI 2.3, 5.7) times more likely to be seropositive with levels equalising later. The ratio of seropositive cases per recalled infection decreased from 8.6 to 2.8. Since seropositivity exceeds the rate of recalled infections considerably, serologic testing may provide a more valid estimate of infections, which is required to assess both the spread and the risk for severe outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies
16.
J Proteome Res ; 21(6): 1575-1587, 2022 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860275

ABSTRACT

Phosphoproteomics routinely quantifies changes in the levels of thousands of phosphorylation sites, but functional analysis of such data remains a major challenge. While databases like PhosphoSitePlus contain information about many phosphorylation sites, the vast majority of known sites is not assigned to any protein kinase. Assigning changes in the phosphoproteome to the activity of individual kinases therefore remains a key challenge. A recent large-scale study systematically identified in vitro substrates for most human protein kinases. Here, we reprocessed and filtered these data to generate an in vitro Kinase-to-Phosphosite database (iKiP-DB). We show that iKiP-DB can accurately predict changes in kinase activity in published phosphoproteomic data sets for both well-studied and poorly characterized kinases. We apply iKiP-DB to a newly generated phosphoproteomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 infected human lung epithelial cells and provide evidence for coronavirus-induced changes in host cell kinase activity. In summary, we show that iKiP-DB is widely applicable to facilitate the functional analysis of phosphoproteomic data sets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Phosphoproteins , Humans , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Protein Kinases/genetics , Protein Kinases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Mult Scler ; 28(7): 1041-1050, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846718

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Optimal management of anti-CD20-treated patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) is an important clinical task during the current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. OBJECTIVES: To characterize humoral and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations/infections in a longitudinal cohort of anti-CD20 treated (n = 175) and anti-CD20 therapy-naïve (n = 41) pwMS. METHODS: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA, virus neutralizing capacity, IgG avidity and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were determined. RESULTS: Following two SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations, not only SARS-CoV-2 spike protein IgG and IgA, but also neutralizing capacity and avidity of SARS-CoV-2 IgG were lower in anti-CD20-treated (n = 51) than in anti-CD20 therapy-naïve pwMS (n = 14) and in healthy controls (HC, n = 19). However, in all anti-CD20-treated pwMS vaccinated twice (n = 26) or infected with SARS-CoV-2 (n = 2), in whom SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were measured, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable, at levels similar to those of twice-vaccinated anti-CD20 therapy-naïve pwMS (n = 7) and HC (n = 19). SARS-CoV-2-S1 IgG levels (r = 0.42, p = 0.002), antibody avidity (r = 0.7, p < 0.001), and neutralizing capacity (r = 0.44, p = 0.03) increased with time between anti-CD20 infusion and second vaccination. Based on detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred in 4 out of 175 (2.3%) anti-CD20-treated pwMS, all of whom recovered fully. CONCLUSIONS: These findings should inform treatment decisions and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination management in pwMS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Multiple Sclerosis , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunoglobulin A , Immunoglobulin G/therapeutic use , Multiple Sclerosis/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
18.
Med (N Y) ; 1(1): 3-8, 2020 12 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1829206

ABSTRACT

Global approaches towards pandemic control range from strict lockdowns to minimal restrictions. We asked experts worldwide about the lessons learned from their countries' response. Their voices converge on the importance of scientifically guided interventions to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its impact on human health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 7005, 2022 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830097

ABSTRACT

Camels gained attention since the discovery of MERS-CoV as intermediary hosts for potentially epidemic zoonotic viruses. DcHEV is a novel zoonotic pathogen associated with camel contact. This study aimed to genetically characterize DcHEV in domestic and imported camels in Saudi Arabia. DcHEV was detected by RT-PCR in serum samples, PCR-positive samples were subjected to sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. DcHEV was detected in 1.77% of samples with higher positivity in domestic DCs. All positive imported dromedaries were from Sudan with age declining prevalence. Domestic DcHEV sequences clustered with sequences from Kenya, Somalia, and UAE while imported sequences clustered with one DcHEV isolate from UAE and both sequences clustered away from isolates reported from Pakistan. Full-genome sequences showed 24 amino acid difference with reference sequences. Our results confirm the detection of DcHEV in domestic and imported DCs. Further investigations are needed in human and camel populations to identify DcHEV potential zoonosis threat.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Hepatitis E virus , Animals , Camelus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Genetic Variation , Hepatitis E virus/genetics , Phylogeny , Saudi Arabia/epidemiology
20.
Front Immunol ; 13: 857322, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809402

ABSTRACT

Carnivores such as cats and minks are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Brazil is a global COVID-19 hot spot and several cases of human-to-cat transmission have been documented. We investigated the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by testing 547 domestic cats sampled between July-November 2020 from seven states in southern, southeastern, and northeastern Brazil. Moreover, we investigated whether immune responses elicited by enzootic coronaviruses affect SARS-CoV-2 infection in cats. We found infection with significantly higher neutralizing antibody titers against the Gamma variant of concern, endemic in Brazil during 2020, than against an early SARS-CoV-2 B.1 isolate (p<0.0001), validating the use of Gamma for further testing. The overall SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in Brazilian cats during late 2020 validated by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT90) was 7.3% (95% CI, 5.3-9.8). There was no significant difference in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in cats between Brazilian states, suggesting homogeneous infection levels ranging from 4.6% (95% CI, 2.2-8.4) to 11.4% (95% CI, 6.7-17.4; p=0.4438). Seroprevalence of the prototypic cat coronavirus Feline coronavirus (FCoV) in a PRNT90 was high at 33.3% (95% CI, 24.9-42.5) and seroprevalence of Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) was low at 1.7% (95% CI, 0.2-5.9) in a PRNT90. Neutralizing antibody titers were significantly lower for FCoV than for SARS-CoV-2 (p=0.0001), consistent with relatively more recent infection of cats with SARS-CoV-2. Neither the magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers (p=0.6390), nor SARS-CoV-2 infection status were affected by FCoV serostatus (p=0.8863). Our data suggest that pre-existing immunity against enzootic coronaviruses neither prevents, nor enhances SARS-CoV-2 infection in cats. High SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence already during the first year of the pandemic substantiates frequent infection of domestic cats and raises concerns on potential SARS-CoV-2 mutations escaping human immunity upon spillback.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cats , Cattle , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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