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1.
Nature ; 603(7902): 706-714, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764186

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron's evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Culture Techniques , Virulence , Virus Replication
2.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 50(3): 1551-1561, 2022 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1636373

ABSTRACT

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been useful in tracking its spread and in identifying variants of concern (VOC). Viral and host factors could contribute to variability within a host that can be captured in next-generation sequencing reads as intra-host single nucleotide variations (iSNVs). Analysing 1347 samples collected till June 2020, we recorded 16 410 iSNV sites throughout the SARS-CoV-2 genome. We found ∼42% of the iSNV sites to be reported as SNVs by 30 September 2020 in consensus sequences submitted to GISAID, which increased to ∼80% by 30th June 2021. Following this, analysis of another set of 1774 samples sequenced in India between November 2020 and May 2021 revealed that majority of the Delta (B.1.617.2) and Kappa (B.1.617.1) lineage-defining variations appeared as iSNVs before getting fixed in the population. Besides, mutations in RdRp as well as RNA-editing by APOBEC and ADAR deaminases seem to contribute to the differential prevalence of iSNVs in hosts. We also observe hyper-variability at functionally critical residues in Spike protein that could alter the antigenicity and may contribute to immune escape. Thus, tracking and functional annotation of iSNVs in ongoing genome surveillance programs could be important for early identification of potential variants of concern and actionable interventions.


Subject(s)
Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Variation/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , APOBEC-1 Deaminase/genetics , Adenosine Deaminase/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Databases, Genetic , Immune Evasion/genetics , India/epidemiology , Phylogeny , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vero Cells
3.
Science ; 374(6570): 995-999, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526449

ABSTRACT

Delhi, the national capital of India, experienced multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreaks in 2020 and reached population seropositivity of >50% by 2021. During April 2021, the city became overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and fatalities, as a new variant, B.1.617.2 (Delta), replaced B.1.1.7 (Alpha). A Bayesian model explains the growth advantage of Delta through a combination of increased transmissibility and reduced sensitivity to immune responses generated against earlier variants (median estimates: 1.5-fold greater transmissibility and 20% reduction in sensitivity). Seropositivity of an employee and family cohort increased from 42% to 87.5% between March and July 2021, with 27% reinfections, as judged by increased antibody concentration after a previous decline. The likely high transmissibility and partial evasion of immunity by the Delta variant contributed to an overwhelming surge in Delhi.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Child , Humans , Immune Evasion , India/epidemiology , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , Reinfection , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
4.
Curr Res Struct Biol ; 3: 290-300, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1509714

ABSTRACT

The recent release of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data from several countries has provided clues into the potential antigenic drift of the coronavirus population. In particular, the genomic instability observed in the spike protein necessitates immediate action and further exploration in the context of viral-host interactions. By temporally tracking 527,988 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we identified invariant and hypervariable regions within the spike protein. We evaluated combination of mutations from SARS-CoV-2 lineages and found that maximum number of lineage-defining mutations were present in the N-terminal domain (NTD). Based on mutant 3D-structural models of known Variants of Concern (VOCs), we found that structural properties such as accessibility, secondary structural type, and intra-protein interactions at local mutation sites are greatly altered. Further, we observed significant differences between intra-protein networks of wild-type and Delta mutant, with the latter showing dense intra-protein contacts. Extensive molecular dynamics simulations of D614G mutant spike structure with hACE2 further revealed dynamic features with 47.7% of mutations mapping on flexible regions of spike protein. Thus, we propose that significant changes within spike protein structure have occurred that may impact SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, and repositioning of vaccine candidates is required to contain the spread of COVID-19 pathogen.

5.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 631769, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389197

ABSTRACT

Background: SARS-CoV-2 infection may not provide long lasting post-infection immunity. While hundreds of reinfections have reported only a few have been confirmed. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the viral isolates from the different episodes is mandatory to establish reinfection. Methods: Nasopharyngeal (NP), oropharyngeal (OP) and whole blood (WB) samples were collected from paired samples of four individuals who were suspected of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection based on distinct clinical episodes and RT-PCR tests. Details from their case record files and investigations were documented. RNA was extracted from the NP and OP samples and subjected to WGS, and the nucleotide and amino acid sequences were subjected to genome and protein-based functional annotation analyses. Serial serology was performed for Anti-N IgG, Anti- S1 RBD IgG, and sVNT (surrogate virus neutralizing test). Findings: Three patients were more symptomatic with lower Ct values and longer duration of illness. Seroconversion was detected soon after the second episode in three patients. WGS generated a genome coverage ranging from 80.07 to 99.7%. Phylogenetic analysis revealed sequences belonged to G, GR and "Other" clades. A total of 42mutations were identified in all the samples, consisting of 22 non-synonymous, 17 synonymous, two in upstream, and one in downstream regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Comparative genomic and protein-based annotation analyses revealed differences in the presence and absence of specific mutations in the virus sequences from the two episodes in all four paired samples. Interpretation: Based on the criteria of genome variations identified by whole genome sequencing and supported by clinical presentation, molecular and serological tests, we were able to confirm reinfections in two patients, provide weak evidence of reinfection in the third patient and unable to rule out a prolonged infection in the fourth. This study emphasizes the importance of detailed analyses of clinical and serological information as well as the virus's genomic variations while assessing cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection.

7.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 184, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808195

ABSTRACT

Background: India first detected SARS-CoV-2, causal agent of COVID-19 in late January 2020, imported from Wuhan, China. From March 2020 onwards, the importation of cases from countries in the rest of the world followed by seeding of local transmission triggered further outbreaks in India. Methods: We used ARTIC protocol-based tiling amplicon sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 (n=104) from different states of India using a combination of MinION and MinIT sequencing from Oxford Nanopore Technology to understand how introduction and local transmission occurred. Results: The analyses revealed multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, including the A2a cluster from Europe and the USA, A3 cluster from Middle East and A4 cluster (haplotype redefined) from Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia) and Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). The local transmission and persistence of genomes A4, A2a and A3 was also observed in the studied locations. The most prevalent genomes with patterns of variance (confined in a cluster) remain unclassified, and are here proposed as A4-clade based on its divergence within the A cluster. Conclusions: The viral haplotypes may link their persistence to geo-climatic conditions and host response. Multipronged strategies including molecular surveillance based on real-time viral genomic data is of paramount importance for a timely management of the pandemic.

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