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1.
Jpn J Infect Dis ; 74(5): 465-472, 2021 Sep 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436361

ABSTRACT

Soon after the 2019 outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China, a protocol for real-time RT-PCR assay detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was established by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) in Japan. The protocol used Charité's nucleocapsid (Sarbeco-N) and NIID nucleocapsid (NIID-N2) assays. During the following months, SARS-CoV-2 spread and caused a global pandemic, and various SARS-CoV-2 sequences were registered in public databases, such as the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). In this study, we evaluated the S2 assay (NIID-S2) that was newly developed to replace the Sarbeco-N assay and the performance of the NIID-N2 and NIID-S2 assays, referring to mismatches in the primer/probe targeted region. We found that the analytical sensitivity and specificity of the NIID-S2 set were comparable to those of the NIID-N2 assay, and the detection rate for clinical specimens was identical to that of the NIID-N2 assay. Furthermore, among the available sequences (approximately 192,000), the NIID-N2 and NIID-S2 sets had 2.6% and 1.2% mismatched sequences, respectively, although most of these mismatches did not affect the amplification efficiency, except the 3' end of the NIID-N2 forward primer. These findings indicate that the previously developed NIID-N2 assay is suitable for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 with support from the newly developed NIID-S2 set.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , DNA Primers/genetics , Humans , Japan , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
2.
Immunity ; 54(10): 2385-2398.e10, 2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1370548

ABSTRACT

Potent neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies often target the spike protein receptor-binding site (RBS), but the variability of RBS epitopes hampers broad neutralization of multiple sarbecoviruses and drifted viruses. Here, using humanized mice, we identified an RBS antibody with a germline VH gene that potently neutralized SARS-related coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 variants. X-ray crystallography revealed coordinated recognition by the heavy chain of non-RBS conserved sites and the light chain of RBS with a binding angle mimicking the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. The minimum footprints in the hypervariable region of RBS contributed to the breadth of neutralization, which was enhanced by immunoglobulin G3 (IgG3) class switching. The coordinated binding resulted in broad neutralization of SARS-CoV and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Low-dose therapeutic antibody treatment in hamsters reduced the virus titers and morbidity during SARS-CoV-2 challenge. The structural basis for broad neutralizing activity may inform the design of a broad spectrum of therapeutics and vaccines.


Subject(s)
Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/immunology , Cross Reactions/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Binding Sites, Antibody , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/chemistry , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunoglobulin Class Switching , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/chemistry , Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments/metabolism , Immunoglobulin G/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Mice , Protein Domains , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
3.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 15(7): e0009553, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360646

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) is a mosquito-borne orthobunyavirus that causes acute febrile illness, meningitis, and meningoencephalitis, primarily in North American adults. Currently, there are no available vaccines or specific treatments against JCV infections. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The antiviral efficacy of favipiravir (FPV) against JCV infection was evaluated in vitro and in vivo in comparison with that of ribavirin (RBV) and 2'-fluoro-2'-deoxycytidine (2'-FdC). The in vitro inhibitory effect of these drugs on JCV replication was evaluated in Vero and Neuro-2a (N2A) cells. The efficacy of FPV in the treatment of JCV infection in vivo was evaluated in C57BL/6J mice inoculated intracerebrally with JCV, as per the survival, viral titers in the brain, and viral RNA load in the blood. The 90% inhibitory concentrations (IC90) of FPV, RBV, and 2'-FdC were 41.0, 61.8, and 13.6 µM in Vero cells and 20.7, 25.8, and 8.8 µM in N2A cells, respectively. All mice infected with 1.0×104 TCID50 died or were sacrificed within 10 days post-infection (dpi) without treatment. However, mice treated with FPV for 5 days [initiated either 2 days prior to infection (-2 dpi-2 dpi) or on the day of infection (0 dpi-4 dpi)] survived significantly longer than control mice, administered with PBS (p = 0.025 and 0.011, respectively). Moreover, at 1 and 3 dpi, the virus titers in the brain were significantly lower in FPV-treated mice (0 dpi-4 dpi) versus PBS-treated mice (p = 0.002 for both 1 and 3 dpi). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Although the intracerebral inoculation route is thought to be a challenging way to evaluate drug efficacy, FPV inhibits the in vitro replication of JCV and prolongs the survival of mice intracerebrally inoculated with JCV. These results will enable the development of a specific antiviral treatment against JCV infections and establishment of an effective animal model.


Subject(s)
Amides/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Encephalitis Virus, California/drug effects , Encephalitis, California/drug therapy , Pyrazines/administration & dosage , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Encephalitis Virus, California/genetics , Encephalitis Virus, California/growth & development , Encephalitis, California/mortality , Encephalitis, California/virology , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Vero Cells
4.
Immunity ; 54(8): 1841-1852.e4, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1293863

ABSTRACT

Antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2 slowly wane over time. Here, we examined how time affects antibody potency. To assess the impact of antibody maturation on durable neutralizing activity against original SARS-CoV-2 and emerging variants of concern (VOCs), we analyzed receptor binding domain (RBD)-specific IgG antibodies in convalescent plasma taken 1-10 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Longitudinal evaluation of total RBD IgG and neutralizing antibody revealed declining total antibody titers but improved neutralization potency per antibody to original SARS-CoV-2, indicative of antibody response maturation. Neutralization assays with authentic viruses revealed that early antibodies capable of neutralizing original SARS-CoV-2 had limited reactivity toward B.1.351 (501Y.V2) and P.1 (501Y.V3) variants. Antibodies from late convalescents exhibited increased neutralization potency to VOCs, suggesting persistence of cross-neutralizing antibodies in plasma. Thus, maturation of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 potentiates cross-neutralizing ability to circulating variants, suggesting that declining antibody titers may not be indicative of declining protection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibody Specificity , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(27)2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276013

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) plays a key role in viral infectivity. It is also the major antigen stimulating the host's protective immune response, specifically, the production of neutralizing antibodies. Recently, a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 possessing multiple mutations in the S protein, designated P.1, emerged in Brazil. Here, we characterized a P.1 variant isolated in Japan by using Syrian hamsters, a well-established small animal model for the study of SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19). In hamsters, the variant showed replicative abilities and pathogenicity similar to those of early and contemporary strains (i.e., SARS-CoV-2 bearing aspartic acid [D] or glycine [G] at position 614 of the S protein). Sera and/or plasma from convalescent patients and BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccinees showed comparable neutralization titers across the P.1 variant, S-614D, and S-614G strains. In contrast, the S-614D and S-614G strains were less well recognized than the P.1 variant by serum from a P.1-infected patient. Prior infection with S-614D or S-614G strains efficiently prevented the replication of the P.1 variant in the lower respiratory tract of hamsters upon reinfection. In addition, passive transfer of neutralizing antibodies to hamsters infected with the P.1 variant or the S-614G strain led to reduced virus replication in the lower respiratory tract. However, the effect was less pronounced against the P.1 variant than the S-614G strain. These findings suggest that the P.1 variant may be somewhat antigenically different from the early and contemporary strains of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/pathology , Cricetinae , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Lung/pathology , Mesocricetus , Mice , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , X-Ray Microtomography
6.
Microbiol Immunol ; 64(1): 33-51, 2020 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262996

ABSTRACT

The spike (S) protein of coronavirus, which binds to cellular receptors and mediates membrane fusion for cell entry, is a candidate vaccine target for blocking coronavirus infection. However, some animal studies have suggested that inadequate immunization against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) induces a lung eosinophilic immunopathology upon infection. The present study evaluated two kinds of vaccine adjuvants for use with recombinant S protein: gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), which are expected to function as both an antigen carrier and an adjuvant in immunization; and Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, which have previously been shown to be an effective adjuvant in an ultraviolet-inactivated SARS-CoV vaccine. All the mice immunized with more than 0.5 µg S protein without adjuvant escaped from SARS after infection with mouse-adapted SARS-CoV; however, eosinophilic infiltrations were observed in the lungs of almost all the immunized mice. The AuNP-adjuvanted protein induced a strong IgG response but failed to improve vaccine efficacy or to reduce eosinophilic infiltration because of highly allergic inflammatory responses. Whereas similar virus titers were observed in the control animals and the animals immunized with S protein with or without AuNPs, Type 1 interferon and pro-inflammatory responses were moderate in the mice treated with S protein with and without AuNPs. On the other hand, the TLR agonist-adjuvanted vaccine induced highly protective antibodies without eosinophilic infiltrations, as well as Th1/17 cytokine responses. The findings of this study will support the development of vaccines against severe pneumonia-associated coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Gold/chemistry , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Lung/immunology , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Analysis of Variance , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytokines/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Immunization , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Recombinant Proteins/immunology , SARS Virus/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/immunology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Toll-Like Receptors , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , Vero Cells , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Viral Vaccines/pharmacology , Viral Vaccines/therapeutic use
7.
Front Microbiol ; 12: 651403, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231355

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused serious public health, social, and economic damage worldwide and effective drugs that prevent or cure COVID-19 are urgently needed. Approved drugs including Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir or Interferon were reported to inhibit the infection or propagation of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), however, their clinical efficacies have not yet been well demonstrated. To identify drugs with higher antiviral potency, we screened approved anti-parasitic/anti-protozoal drugs and identified an anti-malarial drug, Mefloquine, which showed the highest anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity among the tested compounds. Mefloquine showed higher anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity than Hydroxychloroquine in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 and Calu-3 cells, with IC50 = 1.28 µM, IC90 = 2.31 µM, and IC99 = 4.39 µM in VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells. Mefloquine inhibited viral entry after viral attachment to the target cell. Combined treatment with Mefloquine and Nelfinavir, a replication inhibitor, showed synergistic antiviral activity. Our mathematical modeling based on the drug concentration in the lung predicted that Mefloquine administration at a standard treatment dosage could decline viral dynamics in patients, reduce cumulative viral load to 7% and shorten the time until virus elimination by 6.1 days. These data cumulatively underscore Mefloquine as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitor.

8.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1102195

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: An outbreak of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)-associated respiratory infectious diseases (COVID-19) emerged in 2019 and has spread rapidly in humans around the world. The demonstration of in vitro infectiousness of respiratory specimens is an informative surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 transmission from patients with COVID-19; accordingly, viral isolation assays in cell culture are an important aspect of laboratory diagnostics for COVID-19. METHODS: We developed a simple and rapid protocol for isolating SARS-CoV-2 from respiratory specimens using VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells, a cell line that is highly susceptible to the virus. We also investigated a correlation between isolation of SARS-CoV-2 and viral load detected by real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) using N2 primer/probe set that has been developed for testing of COVID-19 in Japan. RESULTS: The SARS-CoV-2 isolation protocol did not require blind passage of inoculated cells and yielded the results of viral isolation within 7 days after inoculation. Specimens with cycle threshold (Ct) values of <20.2, determined by rRT-PCR, were predicted to be isolation-positive. On the other hand, 6.9% of specimens with Ct values >35 were virus isolation-positive, indicating that low viral loads (high Ct values) in upper respiratory specimens do not always indicate no risk of containing transmissible virus. CONCLUSION: In combination with rRT-PCR, the SARS-CoV-2 isolation protocol provides a means for assessing the potential risk of transmissible virus in upper respiratory specimens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral , Humans , Nasal Cavity/virology , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Saliva/virology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Specimen Handling , Vero Cells
9.
Virol J ; 18(1): 16, 2021 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059645

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that emerged in 2019 and is now classified in the genus Coronavirus with closely related SARS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 is highly pathogenic in humans and is classified as a biosafety level (BSL)-3 pathogen, which makes manipulating it relatively difficult due to its infectious nature. METHODS: To circumvent the need for BSL-3 laboratories, an alternative assay was developed that avoids live virus and instead uses a recombinant VSV expressing luciferase and possesses the full length or truncated spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, to measure SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies under BSL2 conditions, a chemiluminescence reduction neutralization test (CRNT) for SARS-CoV-2 was developed. The neutralization values of the serum samples collected from hospitalized patients with COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative donors against the pseudotyped virus infection evaluated by the CRNT were compared with antibody titers determined from an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or an immunofluorescence assay (IFA). RESULTS: The CRNT, which used whole blood collected from hospitalized patients with COVID-19, was also examined. As a result, the inhibition of pseudotyped virus infection was specifically observed in both serum and whole blood and was also correlated with the results of the IFA. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the CRNT for COVID-19 is a convenient assay system that can be performed in a BSL-2 laboratory with high specificity and sensitivity for evaluating the occurrence of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/blood , Neutralization Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Convalescence , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Luminescence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
10.
Virol J ; 18(1): 16, 2021 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024369

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that emerged in 2019 and is now classified in the genus Coronavirus with closely related SARS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 is highly pathogenic in humans and is classified as a biosafety level (BSL)-3 pathogen, which makes manipulating it relatively difficult due to its infectious nature. METHODS: To circumvent the need for BSL-3 laboratories, an alternative assay was developed that avoids live virus and instead uses a recombinant VSV expressing luciferase and possesses the full length or truncated spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, to measure SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies under BSL2 conditions, a chemiluminescence reduction neutralization test (CRNT) for SARS-CoV-2 was developed. The neutralization values of the serum samples collected from hospitalized patients with COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative donors against the pseudotyped virus infection evaluated by the CRNT were compared with antibody titers determined from an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or an immunofluorescence assay (IFA). RESULTS: The CRNT, which used whole blood collected from hospitalized patients with COVID-19, was also examined. As a result, the inhibition of pseudotyped virus infection was specifically observed in both serum and whole blood and was also correlated with the results of the IFA. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the CRNT for COVID-19 is a convenient assay system that can be performed in a BSL-2 laboratory with high specificity and sensitivity for evaluating the occurrence of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/blood , Neutralization Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Convalescence , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Luminescence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
J Virol ; 95(1)2020 12 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968111

ABSTRACT

Here, we screened steroid compounds to obtain a drug expected to block host inflammatory responses and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) replication. Ciclesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid, suppressed the replication of MERS-CoV and other coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in cultured cells. The 90% effective concentration (EC90) of ciclesonide for SARS-CoV-2 in differentiated human bronchial tracheal epithelial cells was 0.55 µM. Eight consecutive passages of 43 SARS-CoV-2 isolates in the presence of ciclesonide generated 15 resistant mutants harboring single amino acid substitutions in nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3) or nsp4. Of note, ciclesonide suppressed the replication of all these mutants by 90% or more, suggesting that these mutants cannot completely overcome ciclesonide blockade. Under a microscope, the viral RNA replication-transcription complex in cells, which is thought to be detectable using antibodies specific for nsp3 and double-stranded RNA, was observed to fall in the presence of ciclesonide in a concentration-dependent manner. These observations indicate that the suppressive effect of ciclesonide on viral replication is specific to coronaviruses, highlighting it as a candidate drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.IMPORTANCE The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, is ongoing. New and effective antiviral agents that combat the disease are needed urgently. Here, we found that an inhaled corticosteroid, ciclesonide, suppresses the replication of coronaviruses, including betacoronaviruses (murine hepatitis virus type 2 [MHV-2], MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2) and an alphacoronavirus (human coronavirus 229E [HCoV-229E]), in cultured cells. Ciclesonide is safe; indeed, it can be administered to infants at high concentrations. Thus, ciclesonide is expected to be a broad-spectrum antiviral drug that is effective against many members of the coronavirus family. It could be prescribed for the treatment of MERS and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Pregnenediones/pharmacology , RNA, Double-Stranded/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , Dogs , HeLa Cells , Humans , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Vero Cells
12.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2203: 55-65, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-761346

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is the etiological agent of MERS, a severe respiratory disease first reported in the Middle East in 2012. Serological assays are used to diagnose MERS-CoV infection and to screen for serum antibodies in seroepidemiological studies. The conventional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is the preferred tool for detecting serum antibodies specific for pathogens; however, the utility of conventional ELISA with respect to detection of MERS-CoV antibodies is limited due to the number of false-positives caused by cross-reactivity of serum antibodies with antigens that are conserved among coronaviruses. The competitive ELISA (cELISA) uses a pathogen-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) that competes with serum antibodies for binding to an antigen; therefore, it is used widely for serological surveillance of many pathogens. In this chapter, I describe detection of serum antibodies using cELISA based on MAbs specific for MERS-CoV.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal , Cross Reactions , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/instrumentation , Humans , Mice, Inbred BALB C
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