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1.
Nature ; 2021 Dec 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585832

ABSTRACT

Emerging variants of concern (VOC) drive the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic1,2. Experimental assessment of replication and transmission of major VOC compared to progenitors are needed to understand successful emerging mechanisms of VOC3. Here, we show that Alpha and Beta spike (S) proteins have a greater affinity to human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor over the progenitor variant (wt-S614G) in vitro. Yet Alpha and wt-S614G had similar replication kinetics in human nasal airway epithelial cultures, whereas Beta was outcompeted by both. In vivo, competition experiments showed a clear fitness advantage of Alpha over the progenitor variant (wt-S614G) in ferrets and two mouse models, where the substitutions in S were major drivers for fitness advantage. In hamsters, supporting high replication levels, Alpha and wt-S614G had comparable fitness. In contrast, Beta was outcompeted by Alpha and wt-S614G in hamsters and hACE2-expressing mice. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple models for complete fitness characterization of VOC and demonstrates adaptation of Alpha towards increased upper respiratory tract replication and enhanced transmission in vivo in restrictive models, whereas Beta fails to overcome contemporary strains in naïve animals.

2.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; : 1-26, 2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585244

ABSTRACT

AbstractAlthough frequently reported since the beginning of the pandemic, questions remain regarding the impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) interaction with circulating respiratory viruses in coinfected patients. We here investigated dual infections involving early-pandemic SARS-CoV-2 and the Alpha variant and three of the most prevalent respiratory viruses, rhinovirus (RV) and Influenza A and B viruses (IAV and IBV), in reconstituted respiratory airway epithelial cells cultured at air-liquid interface. We found that SARS-CoV-2 replication was impaired by primary, but not secondary, rhino- and influenza virus infection. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 had no effect on the replication of these seasonal respiratory viruses. Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 correlated better with immune response triggered by RV, IAV and IBV than the virus entry. Using neutralizing antibody against type I and III interferons, SARS-CoV-2 blockade in dual infections could be partly prevented. Altogether, these data suggested that SARS-CoV-2 interaction with seasonal respiratory viruses would be modulated by interferon induction and could impact SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology when circulation of other respiratory viruses is restored.

3.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-295344

ABSTRACT

We report a prospective epidemiological, virological and serological investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a primary school, as part of a longitudinal, prospective, primary school-based surveillance study. It involved repeated testing of pupils and teachers and household members of participants who tested positive, with rapid antigen tests and/or RT-PCR (Day 0-2 and Day 5-7), serologies on dried capillary blood samples (Day 0-2 and Day 30), contact tracing interviews and SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequencing. This SARS-CoV-2 outbreak caused by the Alpha variant involved 20 children aged 4 to 6 years from 4 classes, 2 teachers and a total of 4 household members. Infection attack rates were between 11.8 and 62.0% among pupils from the 4 classes, 22.2% among teachers and 0% among non-teaching staff. Secondary attack rate among household members was 15.4%. Symptoms were reported by 63% of infected children, 100% of teachers and 50% of household members. All analysed sequences but one showed 100% identity. Serological tests detected 8 seroconversions unidentified by SARS-CoV-2 virological tests. This study confirmed child-to-child and child-to-adult transmission of the infection. Effective measures to limit transmission in schools have the potential to reduce the overall community circulation.

4.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294673

ABSTRACT

Summary Whether smoking exacerbates Coronavirus disease 2019 is still debated. Ex-vivo Infection of reconstituted epithelial tissues from smoker versus non-smoker donors suggested comparable susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in epithelia from both groups.

6.
J Clin Immunol ; 41(8): 1723-1732, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525557

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to high viral loads in the upper respiratory tract that may be determinant in virus dissemination. The extent of intranasal antiviral response in relation to symptoms is unknown. Understanding how local innate responses control virus is key in the development of therapeutic approaches. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2-infected patients were enrolled in an observational study conducted at the Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland, investigating virological and immunological characteristics. Nasal wash and serum specimens from a subset of patients were collected to measure viral load, IgA specific for the S1 domain of the spike protein, and a cytokine panel at different time points after infection; cytokine levels were analyzed in relation to symptoms. RESULTS: Samples from 13 SARS-CoV-2-infected patients and six controls were analyzed. We found an increase in CXCL10 and IL-6, whose levels remained elevated for up to 3 weeks after symptom onset. SARS-CoV-2 infection also induced CCL2 and GM-CSF, suggesting local recruitment and activation of myeloid cells. Local cytokine levels correlated with viral load but not with serum cytokine levels, nor with specific symptoms, including anosmia. Some patients had S1-specific IgA in the nasal cavity while almost none had IgG. CONCLUSION: The nasal epithelium is an active site of cytokine response against SARS-CoV-2 that can last more than 2 weeks; in this mild COVID-19 cohort, anosmia was not associated with increases in any locally produced cytokines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Inflammation/etiology , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
8.
J Clin Med ; 10(8)2021 Apr 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526830

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To assess the diagnostic performances of five automated anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays, Epitope (N), Diasorin (S1/S2), Euroimmun (S1), Roche N (N), and Roche S (S-RBD), and to provide a testing strategy based on pre-test probability. METHODS: We assessed the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) areas under the curve (AUC) values, along with the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values (PPVs), and negative predictive values (NPVs), of each assay using a validation sample set of 172 COVID-19 sera and 185 negative controls against a validated S1-immunofluorescence as a reference method. The three assays displaying the highest AUCs were selected for further serodetection of 2033 sera of a large population-based cohort. RESULTS: In the validation analysis (pre-test probability: 48.1%), Roche N, Roche S and Euroimmun showed the highest discriminant accuracy (AUCs: 0.99, 0.98, and 0.98) with PPVs and NPVs above 96% and 94%, respectively. In the population-based cohort (pre-test probability: 6.2%) these three assays displayed AUCs above 0.97 and PPVs and NPVs above 90.5% and 99.4%, respectively. A sequential strategy using an anti-S assay as screening test and an anti-N as confirmatory assays resulted in a 96.7% PPV and 99.5% NPV, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Euroimmun and both Roche assays performed equally well in high pre-test probability settings. At a lower prevalence, sequentially combining anti-S and anti-N assays resulted in the optimal trade-off between diagnostic performances and operational considerations.

9.
J Clin Microbiol ; 59(9): e0099121, 2021 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501533

ABSTRACT

Antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are used in children despite the lack of data. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of the Panbio-COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device (P-RDT) in children. Symptomatic and asymptomatic participants 0 to 16 years old had two nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) for both reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and P-RDT. A total of 822 participants completed the study, of which 533 (64.9%) were symptomatic. Among the 119 (14.5%) RT-PCR-positive patients, the P-RDT sensitivity was 0.66 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.57 to 0.74). Mean viral load (VL) was higher among P-RDT-positive patients than negative ones (P < 0.001). Sensitivity was 0.91 in specimens with VL of >1.0E6 IU/ml (95% CI 0.83 to 0.99) and decreased to 0.75 (95% CI 0.66 to 0.83) for specimens >1.0E3 IU/ml. Among symptomatic participants, the P-RDT displayed a sensitivity of 0.73 (95% CI 0.64 to 0.82), which peaked at 1.00 at 2 days post-onset of symptoms (DPOS) (95% CI 1.00 to 1.00), then decreased to 0.56 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.88) at 5 DPOS. There was a trend toward lower P-RDT sensitivity in symptomatic children <12 years (0.62 [95% CI 0.45 to 0.78]) versus ≥12 years (0.80 [95% CI 0.69 to 0.91]; P = 0.09). In asymptomatic participants, the P-RDT displayed a sensitivity of 0.43 (95% CI 0.26 to 0.61). Specificity was 1.00 in symptomatic and asymptomatic children (95% CI 0.99 to 1.00). The overall 73% and 43% sensitivities of P-RDT in symptomatic and asymptomatic children, respectively, was below the 80% cutoff recommended by the World Health Organization. We observed a correlation between VL and P-RDT sensitivity, as well as variation of sensitivity according to DPOS, a major determinant of VL. These data highlight the limitations of RDTs in children, with the potential exception in early symptomatic children ≥12yrs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Antigens, Viral , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Sensitivity and Specificity
10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(6): e1384-e1386, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1479948

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 viral load (VL) can serve as a correlate for infectious virus presence and transmission. Viral shedding kinetics over the first week of illness for symptomatic children (n = 279), adolescents (n = 639), and adults (n = 7109) show VLs compatible with infectious virus presence, with slightly lower VL in children than adults.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Child , Humans , Kinetics , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
11.
Scand J Public Health ; : 14034948211048050, 2021 Oct 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477201

ABSTRACT

Aims: To assess SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence over the first epidemic wave in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland, as well as risk factors for infection and symptoms associated with IgG seropositivity. Methods: Between April and June 2020, former participants of a representative survey of the 20-74-year-old population of canton Geneva were invited to participate in the study, along with household members aged over 5 years. Blood samples were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G. Questionnaires were self-administered. We estimated seroprevalence with a Bayesian model accounting for test performance and sampling design. Results: We included 8344 participants, with an overall adjusted seroprevalence of 7.8% (95% credible interval 6.8-8.9). Seroprevalence was highest among 18-49 year-olds (9.5%), and lowest in 5-9-year-old children (4.3%) and individuals >65 years (4.7-5.4%). Odds of seropositivity were significantly reduced for female retirees and unemployed men compared to employed individuals, and smokers compared to non-smokers. We found no significant association between occupation, level of education, neighborhood income and the risk of being seropositive. The symptom most strongly associated with seropositivity was anosmia/dysgeusia. Conclusions: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 population seroprevalence remained low after the first wave in Geneva. Socioeconomic factors were not associated with seropositivity in this sample. The elderly, young children and smokers were less frequently seropositive, although it is not clear how biology and behaviours shape these differences.

12.
Cell Rep ; 37(1): 109773, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442298

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is less severe than it is in adults. We perform a longitudinal analysis of the early innate responses in children and adults with mild infection within household clusters. Children display fewer symptoms than adults do, despite similar initial viral load, and mount a robust anti-viral immune signature typical of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and characterized by early interferon gene responses; increases in cytokines, such as CXCL10 and GM-CSF; and changes in blood cell numbers. When compared with adults, the antiviral response resolves faster (within a week of symptoms), monocytes and dendritic cells are more transiently activated, and genes associated with B cell activation appear earlier in children. Nonetheless, these differences do not have major effects on the quality of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses. Our findings reveal that better early control of inflammation as observed in children may be key for rapidly controlling infection and limiting the disease course.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Immunity, Innate , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transcriptome , Adaptive Immunity , Adolescent , Adult , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Chemokine CXCL10/metabolism , Child , Child, Preschool , Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor/metabolism , Humans , Infant , Inflammation/virology , Interferons/metabolism , Longitudinal Studies , Middle Aged , Monocytes/metabolism , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Viral Load , Young Adult
13.
Eur J Clin Invest ; 51(11): e13661, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398398

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Unravelling autoimmune targets triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection may provide crucial insights into the physiopathology of the disease and foster the development of potential therapeutic candidate targets and prognostic tools. We aimed at determining (a) the association between anti-SARS-CoV-2 and anti-apoA-1 humoral response and (b) the degree of linear homology between SARS-CoV-2, apoA-1 and Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) epitopes. DESIGN: Bioinformatics modelling coupled with mimic peptides engineering and competition experiments were used to assess epitopes sequence homologies. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 and anti-apoA-1 IgG as well as cytokines were assessed by immunoassays on a case-control (n = 101), an intensive care unit (ICU; n = 126) and a general population cohort (n = 663) with available samples in the pre and post-pandemic period. RESULTS: Using bioinformatics modelling, linear sequence homologies between apoA-1, TLR2 and Spike epitopes were identified but without experimental evidence of cross-reactivity. Overall, anti-apoA-1 IgG levels were higher in COVID-19 patients or anti-SARS-CoV-2 seropositive individuals than in healthy donors or anti-SARS-CoV-2 seronegative individuals (P < .0001). Significant and similar associations were noted between anti-apoA-1, anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, cytokines and lipid profile. In ICU patients, anti-SARS-CoV-2 and anti-apoA-1 seroconversion rates displayed similar 7-day kinetics, reaching 82% for anti-apoA-1 seropositivity. In the general population, SARS-CoV-2-exposed individuals displayed higher anti-apoA-1 IgG seropositivity rates than nonexposed ones (34% vs 16.8%; P = .004). CONCLUSION: COVID-19 induces a marked humoral response against the major protein of high-density lipoproteins. As a correlate of poorer prognosis in other clinical settings, such autoimmunity signatures may relate to long-term COVID-19 prognosis assessment and warrant further scrutiny in the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Apolipoprotein A-I/immunology , Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Apolipoprotein A-I/chemistry , Computational Biology , Epitopes/chemistry , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Peptide Fragments/chemistry , Peptide Fragments/immunology , Peptides , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 2/chemistry , Toll-Like Receptor 2/immunology , Young Adult
15.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3643, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387348

ABSTRACT

Understanding the risk of infection from household- and community-exposures and the transmissibility of asymptomatic infections is critical to SARS-CoV-2 control. Limited previous evidence is based primarily on virologic testing, which disproportionately misses mild and asymptomatic infections. Serologic measures are more likely to capture all previously infected individuals. We apply household transmission models to data from a cross-sectional, household-based population serosurvey of 4,534 people ≥5 years from 2,267 households enrolled April-June 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland. We found that the risk of infection from exposure to a single infected household member aged ≥5 years (17.3%,13.7-21.7) was more than three-times that of extra-household exposures over the first pandemic wave (5.1%,4.5-5.8). Young children had a lower risk of infection from household members. Working-age adults had the highest extra-household infection risk. Seropositive asymptomatic household members had 69.4% lower odds (95%CrI,31.8-88.8%) of infecting another household member compared to those reporting symptoms, accounting for 14.5% (95%CrI, 7.2-22.7%) of all household infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Family Characteristics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disease Susceptibility , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Odds Ratio , Pandemics , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Switzerland/epidemiology , Young Adult
17.
J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc ; 10(6): 706-713, 2021 Aug 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358465

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Recently, cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported worldwide. Negative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing associated with positive serology in most of the cases suggests a postinfectious syndrome. Because the pathophysiology of this syndrome is still poorly understood, extensive virological and immunological investigations are needed. METHODS: We report a series of 4 pediatric patients admitted to Geneva University Hospitals with persistent fever and laboratory evidence of inflammation meeting the published definition of MIS-C related to COVID-19, to whom an extensive virological and immunological workup was performed. RESULTS: RT-PCRs on multiple anatomical compartments were negative, whereas anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoglobulin A (IgA) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) were strongly positive by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunofluorescence. Both pseudoneutralization and full virus neutralization assays showed the presence of neutralizing antibodies in all children, confirming a recent infection with SARS-CoV-2. The analyses of cytokine profiles revealed an elevation in all cytokines, as reported in adults with severe COVID-19. Although differing in clinical presentation, some features of MIS-C show phenotypic overlap with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). In contrast to patients with primary HLH, our patients showed normal perforin expression and natural killer (NK) cell degranulation. The levels of soluble interleukin (IL)-2 receptor (sIL-2R) correlated with the severity of disease, reflecting recent T-cell activation. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that MIS-C related to COVID-19 is caused by a postinfectious inflammatory syndrome associated with an elevation in all cytokines, and markers of recent T-cell activation (sIL-2R) occurring despite a strong and specific humoral response to SARS-CoV-2. Further functional and genetic analyses are essential to better understand the mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Child , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
18.
Epidemics ; 37: 100480, 2021 Aug 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347598

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In December 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) reported a SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VoC) which is now named B.1.1.7. Based on initial data from the UK and later data from other countries, this variant was estimated to have a transmission fitness advantage of around 40-80 % (Volz et al., 2021; Leung et al., 2021; Davies et al., 2021). AIM: This study aims to estimate the transmission fitness advantage and the effective reproductive number of B.1.1.7 through time based on data from Switzerland. METHODS: We generated whole genome sequences from 11.8 % of all confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in Switzerland between 14 December 2020 and 11 March 2021. Based on these data, we determine the daily frequency of the B.1.1.7 variant and quantify the variant's transmission fitness advantage on a national and a regional scale. RESULTS: We estimate B.1.1.7 had a transmission fitness advantage of 43-52 % compared to the other variants circulating in Switzerland during the study period. Further, we estimate B.1.1.7 had a reproductive number above 1 from 01 January 2021 until the end of the study period, compared to below 1 for the other variants. Specifically, we estimate the reproductive number for B.1.1.7 was 1.24 [1.07-1.41] from 01 January until 17 January 2021 and 1.18 [1.06-1.30] from 18 January until 01 March 2021 based on the whole genome sequencing data. From 10 March to 16 March 2021, once B.1.1.7 was dominant, we estimate the reproductive number was 1.14 [1.00-1.26] based on all confirmed cases. For reference, Switzerland applied more non-pharmaceutical interventions to combat SARS-CoV-2 on 18 January 2021 and lifted some measures again on 01 March 2021. CONCLUSION: The observed increase in B.1.1.7 frequency in Switzerland during the study period is as expected based on observations in the UK. In absolute numbers, B.1.1.7 increased exponentially with an estimated doubling time of around 2-3.5 weeks. To monitor the ongoing spread of B.1.1.7, our plots are available online.

19.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(11): 1695.e7-1695.e12, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1300726

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Serological studies have been critical in tracking the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data on anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persistence remain sparse, especially from infected individuals with few to no symptoms. The objective of the study was to quantify the sensitivity for detecting historic SARS-CoV-2 infections as a function of time since infection for three commercially available SARS-CoV-2 immunoassays and to explore the implications of decaying immunoassay sensitivity in estimating seroprevalence. METHODS: We followed a cohort of mostly mild/asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals (n = 354) at least 8 months after their presumed infection date and tested their serum for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies with three commercially available assays: Roche-N, Roche-RBD and EuroImmun-S1. We developed a latent class statistical model to infer the specificity and time-varying sensitivity of each assay and show through simulations how inappropriately accounting for test performance can lead to biased serosurvey estimates. RESULTS: Antibodies were detected at follow-up in 74-100% of participants, depending on immunoassays. Both Roche assays maintain high sensitivity, with the EuroImmun assay missing 40% of infections after 9 months. Simulations reveal that without appropriate adjustment for time-varying assay sensitivity, seroprevalence surveys may underestimate infection rates. DISCUSSION: Antibodies persist for at least 8 months after infection in a cohort of mildly infected individuals with detection depending on assay choice. Appropriate assay performance adjustment is important for the interpretation of serological studies in the case of diminishing sensitivity after infection.

20.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(1): 148-150, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289914

ABSTRACT

The factors that contribute to transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by children are unclear. We analyzed viral load at the time of diagnosis in 53 children and 352 adults with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the first 5 days post symptom onset. No significant differences in SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads were seen between children and adults.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Child , Humans , RNA, Viral , Respiratory System , Viral Load
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