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Vet Pathol ; 59(4): 681-695, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714567


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes respiratory disease in mink similar to human COVID-19. We characterized the pathological findings in 72 mink from US farms with SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks, localized SARS-CoV-2 and its host cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in mink respiratory tissues, and evaluated the utility of various test methods and specimens for SARS-CoV-2 detection in necropsy tissues. Of SARS-CoV-2-positive animals found dead, 74% had bronchiolitis and diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Of euthanized SARS-CoV-2-positive animals, 72% had only mild interstitial pneumonia or minimal nonspecific lung changes (congestion, edema, macrophages); similar findings were seen in SARS-CoV-2-negative animals. Suppurative rhinitis, lymphocytic perivascular inflammation in the lungs, and lymphocytic infiltrates in other tissues were common in both SARS-CoV-2-positive and SARS-CoV-2-negative animals. In formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) upper respiratory tract (URT) specimens, conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (cRT-PCR) was more sensitive than in situ hybridization (ISH) or immunohistochemistry (IHC) for detection of SARS-CoV-2. FFPE lung specimens yielded less detection of virus than FFPE URT specimens by all test methods. By IHC and ISH, virus localized extensively to epithelial cells in the nasal turbinates, and prominently within intact epithelium; olfactory mucosa was mostly spared. The SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 was extensively detected by IHC within turbinate epithelium, with decreased detection in lower respiratory tract epithelium and alveolar macrophages. This study expands on the knowledge of the pathology and pathogenesis of natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in mink and supports their further investigation as a potential animal model of SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Mink , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Epithelial Cells , Lung , Macrophages, Alveolar , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(3): 510-517, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686417


Severe coronavirus disease in neonates is rare. We analyzed clinical, laboratory, and autopsy findings from a neonate in the United States who was delivered at 25 weeks of gestation and died 4 days after birth; the mother had asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and preeclampsia. We observed severe diffuse alveolar damage and localized SARS-CoV-2 by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and electron microscopy of the lungs of the neonate. We localized SARS-CoV-2 RNA in neonatal heart and liver vascular endothelium by using in situ hybridization and detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in neonatal and placental tissues by using reverse transcription PCR. Subgenomic reverse transcription PCR suggested viral replication in lung/airway, heart, and liver. These findings indicate that in utero SARS-CoV-2 transmission contributed to this neonatal death.

COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Autopsy , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical , Lung , Placenta , Pregnancy , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
J Infect Dis ; 223(5): 752-764, 2021 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117027


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to produce substantial morbidity and mortality. To understand the reasons for the wide-spectrum complications and severe outcomes of COVID-19, we aimed to identify cellular targets of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) tropism and replication in various tissues. METHODS: We evaluated RNA extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded autopsy tissues from 64 case patients (age range, 1 month to 84 years; 21 COVID-19 confirmed, 43 suspected COVID-19) by SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). For cellular localization of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and viral characterization, we performed in situ hybridization (ISH), subgenomic RNA RT-PCR, and whole-genome sequencing. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 was identified by RT-PCR in 32 case patients (21 COVID-19 confirmed, 11 suspected). ISH was positive in 20 and subgenomic RNA RT-PCR was positive in 17 of 32 RT-PCR-positive case patients. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was localized by ISH in hyaline membranes, pneumocytes, and macrophages of lungs; epithelial cells of airways; and endothelial cells and vessel walls of brain stem, leptomeninges, lung, heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. The D614G variant was detected in 9 RT-PCR-positive case patients. CONCLUSIONS: We identified cellular targets of SARS-CoV-2 tropism and replication in the lungs and airways and demonstrated its direct infection in vascular endothelium. This work provides important insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis and mechanisms of severe outcomes.

COVID-19/virology , Endothelium, Vascular/virology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , In Situ Hybridization , Infant , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Tropism , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult